ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have agreed to extend their affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for the 2013-14 season, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
“We are very pleased to renew our ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals,” said McPhee. “Our experience this past season confirms that Reading is a top quality environment for our young players to develop.”
Reading finished its first regular season of affiliation with Washington with franchise records for wins (46), winning percentage (.688), fewest losses (19) and most points (99). The Royals finished the regular season with the top seed in the Eastern Conference, winning their third Atlantic Division title in franchise history and their first Eastern Conference regular-season title. No fewer than 17 different players on assignment and loan from Washington and Hershey appeared in games for Reading this season. The Royals, who are in the midst of a first round Eastern Conference quarterfinal best-of-seven playoff series with the Greenville Road Warriors, have eight of those players on the team’s active playoff roster, including prospects Stanislav Galiev, Brett Flemming and Dustin Stevenson.
“The Berks County Convention Center Authority and SMG are thrilled to renew the Royals’ relationship with what we believe to be the premier hockey operations department in the game,” said Royals and SMG regional general manager Zane Collings. “Of course, the Royals still have work in front of the team for this year, but we look forward to continuing the success that we experienced in our first season of affiliation with the Capitals and Bears in the future.”
A number of current Capitals have spent time in the ECHL, including goaltenders Braden Holtby, an ECHL All-Star who played in South Carolina during the 2009-10 season, and Michal Neuvirth, who was named an ECHL All-Star during the 2008-09 season while with South Carolina. Hershey Bears goaltender Philipp Grubauer spent the first half of the 2012-13 season with Reading and was named a starter in the ECHL All-Star game after compiling a record of 19-5-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage in 26 games played with the Royals.
The Royals, who are currently in the team’s 12th season in Reading, had a previous affiliation with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings from 2001-2008. From 2008-09 through 2011-12, the Royals were affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs and, beginning in 2009-10, the Royals added a secondary affiliation with the Boston Bruins. Reading plays its home games at the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pa., which holds a capacity of 7,160.