The ECHL announced their critical dates for the 2023-24 season earlier today, and despite there being nothing of a surprise to those who follow the league, these are some key dates that all fans should mark down in their calendar; the official press release from the ECHL can be found here. All times listed are in Eastern Standard Time.
ECHL players can start reporting to training camp on October 5th for team meetings, physicals, and registrations, and the following day, October 6th, teams can begin on-ice sessions. All 28 teams must have submitted their 21-man rosters to the league by 3 p.m. on October 18th; teams can carry 21 plays on their active rosters for the first 30 days of the season. The ECHL regular season will kick off on October 19th as the Orlando Solar Bears host the Florida Everblades, while the other 26 teams will begin on October 20th. On November 18th, Orland and Florida have to cut their roster down to 20, while the rest of the league will do it the following day.
The ECHL Christmas Waiver/Trade freeze begins on December 23rd at 5 p.m. and will last until December 27th at 12 p.m.; the league will also not have any games from December 24th till the 26th due to the league’s Christmas Break. On January 15th, the ECHL All-Star game will take place in Savannah, Georgia; however, the ECHL All-Star break is from January 16-18; six teams will play games on January 15th (Maine at Reading), (Tulsa at Allen), and (Cincinnati at Iowa). Once the All-Star break ends, the jersey reversal comes into effect, as teams will wear their away jerseys at home and their home jerseys on the road; this allows fans to see their favorite team in both sets of their jerseys.
The overseas and IIHF deadlines will both occur on February 15th. The overseas deadline will occur at 3 p.m., and the IIHF deadline will occur at 6 p.m. The ECHL recall/re-assignment is on March 20th, followed by the ECHL Trade Deadline the following day at 3 p.m. April 15th is the last day a team can place a player on waivers as the ECHL regular season will conclude two days later. Teams that qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs must submit their rosters to the league by 3 p.m. on April 15th, two days before the Kelly Cup Playoffs begin.
The beginning of the ECHL off-season will begin on June 8th as teams are required to submit their protected lists to the league; these basically hold the rights to players who were on ECHL contracts during the season or had qualifying offers from the previous Summer but didn’t end up signing a contract. All future consideration trades must be completed by June 20th at 3 p.m. Two days later, the season-ending rosters are due by 3:00 p.m. and on June 23rd, teams can begin building their rosters for the following season. On July 7th, qualifying offers are due to players, and players have until the 22nd to decide whether or not they want to accept the qualifying offer. On August 8th, restricted free agency comes to a close.