The Reading Royals have announced that the team has agreed to a one-year extension with a second-year option to serve as ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The 2019-20 season, presented by Tower Health and UPMC Health Plan, marks the sixth straight that the Royals have been affiliated with the Flyers and Phantoms. Reading has qualified for the playoffs in four of the first five years the teams have been affiliated.
To celebrate the renewal of the affiliation, the Royals are proud to host Affiliation Night on Sat., Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m. and Mascot Mania, where Royals mascot Slapshot has invited local mascot friends to the game, including Gritty from the Flyers. Dec. 14 is also the Teddy Bear Toss game and the Royals will wear special affiliation jerseys.
The three form the closest affiliation chain in professional hockey. Santander Arena is 39 miles southwest of Lehigh Valley’s PPL Center and 67 miles northwest of Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. Meanwhile, the Phantoms play 70 miles north of Wells Fargo Center.
Chuck Fletcher, Philadelphia Flyers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager
“We are very happy to extend our relationship with the Reading Royals,” said Fletcher. “Over the last five years, we have seen how advantageous it has been to have each of our minor league affiliates, which includes the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, in close proximity to Philadelphia, as we continue to develop players within the Flyers system.”
David Farrar, Reading Royals General Manager
“We are honored to continue our strong partnership with the Flyers and hope to continue to develop players for the Phantoms and Flyers while maintaining our goal of bringing a second Kelly Cup to Reading,” said Farrar.
Kirk MacDonald, Reading Royals Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations
“Our affiliation has provided Royals players the chance to develop within a first-class organizational structure where prospects are given the proper attention and coaching necessary to reach the next level,” said MacDonald. “We take pride in helping to advance the Flyers’ prospects and continue the strong and winning culture built in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and Reading.”
Over the last five seasons, 32 players have skated with the Royals and advanced to Lehigh Valley or Philadelphia. In Jan. 2018, forward Tyrell Goulbourne became the first former Royals player to progress from Reading to Philadelphia. Two months later, goaltender Anthony Stolarz made a three-game rehab stint with the Royals on his way back to NHL. Royals Head Coach Kirk MacDonald is entering his third season as Head Coach and has been on Reading’s coaching staff since the team began its affiliation with Philadelphia.
Founded in 1967, the Flyers are two-time Stanley Cup Champions and 16-time division champions. Owned by Comcast Spectacor, the team is under the direction of Chairman and CEO Dave Scott. The Flyers named Chuck Fletcher President of Hockey Operations and General Manager in December 2018. Alain Vigneault was named the 21st Head Coach in Flyers history in April 2019 and has a career winning percentage of .588 in 1216 regular season games.
The Royals are entering their 19th ECHL season and are proudly affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Royals won the Kelly Cup in 2013, have made the playoffs 14 times, and are four-time division champions. The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA), founded in 1996, owns the Royals and oversees operations at Santander Arena and the Santander Arena Performing Arts Center.
Royals affiliation history
2001-08: Los Angeles Kings
2008-09: Toronto Maple Leafs
2009-12: Toronto Maple Leafs/Boston Bruins (secondary)
2012-14: Washington Capitals
2014-present: Philadelphia Flyers