Is Reno still a future landing spot for professional hockey?
As the success of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights has been well documented, might Reno be the next Nevada town to house professional hockey, potentially at the AHL or ECHL level?
With five AHL teams in California and one in Arizona, the area is still ripe for hockey. In the ECHL, Idaho and Utah are the league’s westernmost clubs.
Back this past summer, the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads posted an interview with ECHL commissioner Ryan Crelin on the topic of potential expansion.
“We’ve had a Western presence for about 15 years now with the folding of the WCHL (West Coast Hockey League),” said Crelin. “We have a commitment to the West and some great members in the West. Hockey has been very stable in Idaho and in our other Western markets as well. As we do look to that stable expansion and growth, I think another team in the West would be ideal. That’s something we’re going to be targeting, but as you know it doesn’t happen overnight. We don’t look at a map and say, ‘Let’s put a hockey team there.’ There needs to be the right building, market, ownership and management.
“That will come together, but it just takes time.”
The Reno Events Center would be a possibility to take on an AHL or ECHL team. Opened in 2005, the rink seats 7,000.
The Reno Renegades were one of the founding members of the WCHL back in 1995 and after two seasons under the Renegades name, the team changed their name to the Reno Rage for the 1997-98 season and folded after that season. The Renegades/Rage played in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, which was built in 1965.
In both 1996 and 1998, the team made the WCHL playoffs, but lost in the first round. The team missed the playoffs in 1997.
Female goaltender Manon Rhéaume, who earlier in the decade played in preseason games for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, appeared in 11 regular-season games for the Renegades during the 1996–97 season.
— Matt Mackinder
(Dec. 3, 2018)