BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Steelheads are back in Boise for their next homestand and first-year ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin visited Boise and spoke about the Steelheads' continuing success.
Crelin has been a part of the league for the past 14 years and last came to Boise in 2007 for the ECHL All-Star game.
Much has changed on the ice in the last decade since he was in Boise but says the Steelheads' success has been constant, including 21 straight playoff appearances, a pro-hockey record.
"Lots of changes in minor league hockey, but Idaho has been pretty consistent, Crelin said. "I think it says a lot both on and off the ice, always put a good product on the ice, make the playoffs as you referenced, but stability in the stands as well, and I would say a lot of growth recently in the past couple of years here which is a testament to Eric (Trapp, President of Idaho Sports Properties) and Mike (DiPalma, Vice-President of Idaho Sports Properties) and the whole staff here so it's a great place to bring the community of Boise together."
Crelin also said that expanding the league is one of his new responsibilities, but isn't as easy as picking cities for new teams off of a map.
"It's a complex thing to accomplish, in terms of finding the right geography, the right venue, the right ownership group, the right market, political and local chambers (that) support the effort," he said. "So there's a lot of moving pieces to it."
The ECHL's direction of expansion also depends on what other hockey leagues are doing with growth.
"We'll certainly keep an eye on what the NHL and AHL are doing with their growth, but we'll do what's right for the ECHL and make sure it matches up with our goals, Crelin said.
The Idaho Steelheads are back at home ice for a six-game homestand after going 4-5 on a nine-game road trip for the last three weeks.
They beat the Rapid City Rush 2-1 Friday night and won a 3-2 thriller against the Rush on Wednesday.
Idaho (31-17-1-2) is in second place in the Mountain Division, trailing the Utah Grizzlies by two points.
The Steelheads are second in the Western Conference, behind the Grizzlies and the Cincinnati Cyclones, who lead Idaho by nine points.
The team is also fifth in the ECHL, where the Florida Everblades lead the league with 75 points.
Idaho has now won eight of last nine games at home.
The Idaho Steelheads play the Rapid City Rush Saturday at 7 p.m. at CenturyLink Arena.