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The ECHL began play as the East Coast Hockey League in 1988-89 with five teams across four states. Having grown into a coast-to-coast league with 26 teams in 19 states plus two Canadian provinces, the league is simply the ECHL.

The ECHL is one notch below the American Hockey League (AHL), with players typically advancing to the AHL, then NHL. The majority of ECHL teams are affiliated with an AHL team and matching . . .

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