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The 2015–16 ECHL season is the 28th season of the ECHL. The regular season schedule will run from October to April with the Kelly Cup playoffs to follow.
As a result of a major shift of American Hockey League teams the ECHL also had a major shift of franchises as the league lost 3 California based teams to new AHL teams.
- As a result of the Edmonton Oilers purchasing the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons franchise and relocating it to Bakersfield, California; the Bakersfield Condors were relocated to Norfolk, Virginia replacing the city's AHL franchise which was purchased by the Anaheim Ducks and relocated to San Diego, California as the San Diego Gulls.
There were two other sets of cities that simply swapped the locations of the AHL and ECHL affiliates:
- The Manchester Monarchs of the AHL swapped locations with the Ontario Reign with the teams keeping the same names. The new Manchester Monarchs franchise joined the league's East Division
- The Stockton Thunder of the AHL come into existence when the Calgary Flames relocated their Glens Falls, New York based Adirondack Flames and the ECHL's team is relocated to Glens Falls as the Adirondack Thunder
- On August 25, 2015 the Greenville Road Warriors were renamed the Greenville Swamp Rabbits
- On August 9, 2015 the Gwinnett Gladiators announced they were changing their name to the Atlanta Gladiators
- The Evansville Icemen appear to be moving to Owensboro, Kentucky for the 2016-17 season, the team signed a lease with the city of Owensboro to play in the Edge Ice Center starting with next season. The city of Evansvile has started work on trying to secure a new hockey tenant at the Ford Center for the 2016-17 season, most likely a Southern Professional Hockey League franchise. The move of the team to Owensboro was approved by the ECHL along with a one year leave of absence since the arena would be undergoing renovations.
- In the spring of 2016 the league announce the addition of the Worcester Railers for the 2017-18 season to be based out of the DCU Center. The former home of the Worcester Sharks.
- The league received an application for another expansion team to be located in Portland, Maine for the 2017-18 season to replace the AHL's Portland Pirates who relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts to replace the Springfield Falcons who were sold and relocated to Tucson, Arizona.
The league held its annual Board of Governors meeting in late June and announced the following changes:
- The league changes the overtime format to five minutes of sudden death 3 on 3 play, followed by a 3 round shoot out followed by a sudden death shoot out if needed
- The "spin-o-rama" move was eliminated during shootouts
- The league will use two referees for all playoff games up from using them for the semifinal and final rounds the past three seasons.
- The Board of Governors approved changing the distance of the hash marks on the end-zone faceoff circles to 5 feet, 7 inches.
2015-16 League alignmentEdit
- An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.
|South Carolina Stingrays||72||44||18||-||7||3||224||162||1273||98|
|Orlando Solar Bears||72||33||30||-||4||5||224||232||845||75|
|Greenville Swamp Rabbits||72||29||33||-||9||1||205||243||1081||68|
|Fort Wayne Komets||72||40||23||-||7||2||240||200||1196||89|
|Quad City Mallards||72||37||29||-||4||2||203||203||1007||80|
|Rapid City Rush||72||30||35||-||3||4||177||210||974||67|
Kelly Cup PlayoffsEdit
As a result of the league re-aligning into 3 unbalanced divisions in each conference the playoff format was changed from a division based playoff to a conference based playoff with the division winners being seeded 1, 2, and 3 (based on points) and the next five highest point totals also qualify for the playoffs. All four rounds will be a best-of-seven format. This is the same format the NHL used prior to its most recent re-alignment.
|Conference Quarterfinals||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||Kelly Cup Finals|
|E2||South Carolina Stingrays||4|
|W8||Quad City Mallards||0|
|W2||Fort Wayne Komets||4|
Eastern Conference QuarterfinalsEdit
- Reading Royals defeated Toledo Walleye 4 games to 3 (4-3, 3-4, 4-2, 1-3, 5-3, 1-3, 4-1)
- South Carolina Stingrays defeated Kalamazoo Wings 4 games to 1 (4-1, 5-2, 3-5, 3-2, 5-1)
- Adirondack Thunder defeated Manchester Monarchs 4 games to 1 (3-2, 4-3 (ot), 4-2, 1-2, 3-0)
- Wheeling Nailers defeated Florida Everblades 4 games to 2 (6-3, 1-4, 3-6, 5-4, 4-3, 2-1)
Western Conference QuarterfinalsEdit
- Missouri Mavericks defeated Quad City Mallards 4 games to none (6-3, 2-1, 4-2, 4-1)
- Fort Wayne Komets defeated Cincinnati Cyclones 4 games to 3 (2-3, 2-3, 8-0, 3-2 (2ot), 4-5 (2ot), 2-1 (ot), 2-0)
- Utah Grizzlies defeated Colorado Eagles 4 games to 2 (3-2, 4-5 (3ot), 3-2, 7-2, 2-5, 7-2)
- Allen Americans defeated Idaho Steelheads 4 games to 3 (1-3, 3-1, 3-1, 1-3, 1-7, 4-2, 3-2 (ot))
Eastern Conference SemifinalsEdit
- South Carolina Stingrays defeated Adirondack Thunder 4 games to 3 (4-5, 1-0, 1-3, 6-0, 2-3 (ot), 4-1, 3-2 (2ot))
- Wheeling Nailers defeated Reading Royals 4 games to 3 (4-1, 2-4, 1-4, 2-1 (3ot), 1-3, 8-3, 4-3 (ot))
Western Conference SemifinalsEdit
- Allen Americans defeated Missouri Mavericks 4 games to 2 (2-0, 2-5, 5-1, 4-2, 1-3, 5-1)
- Fort Wayne Komets defeated Utah Grizzlies 4 games to none (6-4, 5-3, 3-1, 5-3)
Eastern Conference FinalEdit
- Wheeling Nailers defeated South Carolina Stingrays 4 games to 3 (0-3, 4-3 (2ot), 2-1, 2-4, 1-3, 4-3 (ot), 5-2)