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Greenville Swamp Rabbits
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
City: Greenville, South Carolina
League: ECHL
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: South Division
Founded: 2010
Home Arena: BI-LO Center
Colors: midnight blue, copper, white, silver

                   

Owner(s): Neil Smith
General Manager: TBA
Head Coach: Brian Gratz (2015-16
Franchise history
1988–2010: Johnstown Chiefs
2010–2015: Greenville Road Warriors
2015-Present: Greenville Swamp Rabbit

The Greenville Swamp Rabbits are a professional ice hockey team located in Greenville, South Carolina. The team is a member of the ECHL and play their home games at the BI-LO Center in downtown Greenville.[1] The franchise had previously played as the Johnstown Chiefs from the ECHL's inception in 1988 until the team's relocation in 2010. The Road Warriors are the second ECHL franchise to play in Greenville, as the city hosted the Greenville Grrrowl from 1998 until 2006.[2] The team was renamed to its present name on August 25, 2015. The name is a local reference to the Greenville and Northern Railroad which linked Greenville to the coal fields in Tennessee and was nicknamed by the "Swamp Rabbit" by locals and was completed in the 1920's.

GreenvilleRoadWarriors

team logo 2010 to 2015

Greenville Grrrowl Edit

Main article: Greenville Grrrowl

Greenville's first ECHL franchise were the Greenville Grrrowl who were awarded expansion rights in 1998 along with the Florida Everblades in Estero, Florida and played their home games at the BI-LO Center. The Grrrowl would finish their inaugural season in last place in the Southeast Division, with a record of 26-33-11.

The following season saw great improvement by the Grrrowl on the ice, finishing with the third best record in the Southern Conference and reaching the Southern Conference Finals, before losing to the Louisiana IceGators, 4 games to 2. The Grrrowl would see checkered success throughout their time in the ECHL, bouncing in and out of the playoffs before winning their first and only Kelly Cup during the 2001-02 season, sweeping the Dayton Bombers in the finals in four games.

Despite some success on the ice, the Grrrowl continually faced problems with attendance, losing around 1,000 fans per game per season. The Grrrowl would fold following the 2005-06 season, after running a $1,000,000 deficit during 2005 that left the team unable to attract new investors.[3] In June 2006 the BI-LO Center announced they were willing to pay $350,000 to keep the team afloat, hoping to entice developers to save the team.[4] However, the Grrrowl failed to find new sources of financing and the ECHL revoked the team's franchise rights.[3]

Franchise history Edit

Johnstown Chiefs (1988–2010) Edit

Main article: Johnstown Chiefs

The Johnstown Chiefs were one of five franchises that founded the East Coast Hockey League in 1988. Johnstown's initial owners had wanted to name the team the Jets in reference of a previous franchise that had played in various leagues from 1950 until 1977. However, the original Johnstown Jets owners owned the name and refused to allow the ECHL franchise to use it. The owners of the ECHL franchise instead decided to name the team the Chiefs in reference to the Charlestown Chiefs from the ice hockey movie Slap Shot which was filmed in Johnstown.

The Chiefs played their home games at Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown for all 22 of their season in the ECHL. In the inaugural season of the team and the ECHL, Johnstown finished second in the regular season standings and were the runner-ups in the inaugural Riley Cup finals, losing to the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds 4 games to 3. Although the Chiefs had played in the ECHL for 22 seasons, the had never won a division, conference, Brabham Cup or Riley/Kelly Cup title. Throughout Johnstown's history, the club had affiliation agreements with the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Chiefs would flounder for several years as the owners of the team tried to find local ownership for the team, but failed. After losing a reported $100,000 per year and facing an expensive rent posted by the War Memorial Arena's new owners, the Chiefs started to listen to offers to relocate the team.

Relocation to Greenville Edit

On February 13, 2010, the Tribune-Democrat reported that television reports from Greenville stated that the Chiefs would be relocated to Greenville following the 2009-10 season and compete at the BI-LO Center.[1] Two days later the Tribune-Democrat confirmed previous reports that the Johnstown Chiefs would relocate to Greenville, pending approval by Greenville's arena board and the ECHL's Board of Governors.[2] On February 15, 2010, the Greenville Arena District Board announced that they had agreed to a five-year deal to bring the Johnstown Chiefs to Greenville's BI-LO Center.[5]

The importance of the new Greenville team financially helps the two nearby teams in the ECHL that had lost a rival (Charlotte) to the AHL for the upcoming season; the Gwinnett Gladiators via Interstate 85, and the South Carolina Stingrays (Charleston) via Interstate 26 through Interstate 385. While Gwinnett is the closer rivalry, the Charleston rivalry is an in-state rivalry and the older, more established rivalry (ninth season versus sixth season).

Cincinnati Cyclones assistant coach Dean Stork was named the franchise's first head coach on June 29, 2010.

Season recordsEdit

Johnstown ChiefsEdit

Records as of 2009–10 season.[6]

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL = Shootout losses, Pts = Points, PCT = Winning percentage, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
Season League Division GP W L T OTL SOL Pts PCT GF GA PIM Coach(es) Result
1988–89 ECHL 60 32 22 - 6 - 70 .583 295 251 Steve Carlson Lost in Finals
1989–90 ECHL 60 23 31 - 6 - 52 .433 233 291 2047 Steve Carlson Out of playoffs
1990–91 ECHL East 64 32 29 - 3 - 67 .523 324 287 1646 Steve Carlson Lost in round 2
1991–92 ECHL West 64 36 23 - 5 - 77 .601 294 248 1750 Steve Carlson Lost in round 2
1992–93 ECHL East 64 34 23 - 7 - 75 .585 281 264 1647 Ed Johnstone Lost in round 2
1993–94 ECHL North 68 37 27 - 4 - 78 .573 323 308 1978 Ed Johnstone Lost in round 1
1994–95 ECHL North 68 31 32 - 5 - 67 .492 256 297 1656 Ed Johnstone Lost in round 1
1995–96 ECHL North 70 21 38 - 11 - 53 .378 249 322 2481 Nick Fotiu Out of Playoffs
1996–97 ECHL North 70 24 39 7 - - 55 .392 253 354 2287 Nick Fotiu Out of Playoffs
1997–98 ECHL Northeast 70 23 41 6 - - 52 .371 219 297 2118 Nick Fotiu
Scott Allen
Out of Playoffs
1998–99 ECHL Northeast 70 27 34 9 - - 63 .450 218 265 1734 Scott Allen Out of Playoffs
1999–00 ECHL Northwest 70 33 28 - 9 - 75 .535 235 234 1959 Scott Allen Lost in round 3
2000–01 ECHL Northwest 72 28 36 8 - - 64 .444 207 238 1865 Scott Allen Lost in round 2
2001–02 ECHL Northwest 72 39 31 2 - - 80 .555 220 232 1688 Scott Allen Lost in round 3
2002–03 ECHL Northwest 72 28 33 11 - - 67 .465 214 243 1700 Toby O'Brien Out of Playoffs
2003–04 ECHL Northern 72 45 20 7 - - 97 .673 223 195 1491 Toby O'Brien Lost in Q/R
2004–05 ECHL North 72 22 36 14 - - 58 .402 191 258 1421 Toby O'Brien Out of Playoffs
2005–06 ECHL North 72 30 26 16 - - 76 .527 223 243 1119 Frank Anzalone Lost in round 2
2006–07 ECHL North 72 33 33 - 3 3 72 .500 216 232 1179 Frank Anzalone Lost in round 1
2007–08 ECHL North 72 36 30 - 3 3 78 .541 235 234 1568 Ian Herbers Lost in round 2
2008–09 ECHL North 72 37 30 - 5 0 79 .549 228 232 1472 Ian Herbers Out of Playoffs
2009–10 ECHL East 72 18 43 - 7 4 47 .326 215 307 1385 Jeff Flanagan
Neil Smith
Out of Playoffs

GreenvilleEdit

Season GP W L OTL SOL PTS GF GA PIM Standing Playoffs
ECHL
Greenville Road Warriors
2010–11 72 46 22 3 1 96 255 192 1045 1st, South Lost in 2nd Round
2011–12 72 41 25 2 4 88 232 215 1243 2nd, South Lost in 2nd Round
2012–13 72 36 28 2 6 80 226 219 1248 4th, South Lost in First Round
2013–14 72 39 27 2 4 84 220 208 1009 3rd, South Lost in 3rd Round
2014–15 72 39 29 1 3 82 216 215 1087 7th, East Did not Qualify
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
2015–16 72 29 33 9 1 68 205 243 1081 5th, South Did not qualify

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Mastovich, Mike (February 13, 2010). "Rumors continue about Chiefs relocation". Tribune-Democrat. Retrieved on February 14, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mastovich, Mike (February 15, 2010). "Chiefs plan to move franchise to South Carolina". Tribune-Democrat. Retrieved on February 16, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Szobody, Ben and Dykes, Davis (May 23, 2006). Grrrowl not paying some bills, president says. The Greenville News. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.
  4. Szobody, Ben (June 15, 2006). Bi-Lo Center may pitch in for Grrrowl. The Greenville News. Retrieved on 2006-09-03.
  5. Wright, Bart (February 15, 2010). "Hockey makes a return with the iconic minor league Chiefs". The Greenville News. Retrieved on February 17, 2010.
  6. Season-by-season records. hockeydb.com (2008-12-01). Retrieved on 2008-12-01.

External links Edit

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