“We are pleased to add this quality organization as our development affiliate,” said Thomas. “The Phoenix club has a long-standing tradition of excellence in its market – on and off the ice – and we look forward to their assistance in the development of Sharks prospects. Brad Church played in the Sharks organization and brings the same competitiveness and preparation as a coach as he did as a player.”
The ECHL began play in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has now expanded to 25 teams ranging from New Jersey to Alaska.
The Phoenix RoadRunners enter their third season in the ECHL, but their history as a franchise runs much deeper than just the past three seasons. The Phoenix RoadRunners were actually the first professional franchise in the state of Arizona. The team initially existed from 1967-1974 in the WHL. The team played in several leagues for various spans of time over the next few decades, but eventually went dark in 1997.
After four years without a minor league hockey team, the RoadRunners were revived in the ECHL by the same group of owners from the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Mercury including Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver and Chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo. The group also purchased the familiar hockey name and logos for play in their new home at US Airways Center.
The team had its best campaign, finishing fourth in the West Division and eighth in the National Conference in 2006-07, which earned them a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The team returns for the 2007-08 season led by head coach Church and a new affiliation with the San Jose and Worcester Sharks. Visit the RoadRunners Website at phxroadrunners.com