ECHL: Joe Ernst To Leave ECHL and Join Zawyer Sports & Entertainment

Florida Everblades/ECHL

The ECHL has announced that Joe Ernst, the league’s VP of Hockey Operations, will be leaving the league at the end of the Kelly Cup Playoffs to become the Vice President of Hockey Operations for Zawyer Sports and Entertainment; Ernst has been a part of the league for 33 of the 36 year’s that the league has existed. Ernst has been a huge part of the ECHL since joining the league as a referee during the 1991-92 season he spent 16 years as an on-ice official for 16 seasons and officiated 1,061 regular season games, nine Kelly Cup/Riley Cup series, along with one All-Star Game. He would go on to become the first referee/linesman to enter the ECHL Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2011 and he currently serves as the co-chairman for the ECHL Hall of Fame Committee. Ernst, after 16 years of being an official, would take an off-ice position with the league as the Assistant Director of Officiating till 2017-18 before being promoted to Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations of the ECHL, a position that he held for the rest of his tenure with the league.

“I would first like to say thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Kelly who have been like a second father and mother to me throughout the years,” Ernst said. “I wouldn’t be here without Mr. Kelly taking a chance on me as a referee. The last 33 years have been an amazing journey, starting as a 20-year-old kid refereeing his first game in Columbus, Ohio in 1991 to now being in the position I am with the league is crazy to comprehend.

Joe Ernst via the league’s press release

Over the past few years, the Zawyer Sports and Entertainment group has continued to grow in the ECHL, owning and operating four ECHL teams, two of which have come in the last three years with the addition of the Savannah Ghost Pirates and Tahoe Knight Monsters, the Knight Monsters will begin play next season. They also manage the Atlanta Gladiators and Savannah Ghost Pirates ice. Having someone with so much experience in the league on their team will be a huge addition to the Zawyer Sports and Entertainment Family.

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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