As the Worcester Railers prepare for their debut in the ECHL, both team and league officials sound confident about the team’s future.
The Railers have been slated to join the ECHL as an expansion franchise for the 2017-18 season, with businessman Cliff Rucker leading the team’s ownership group. In December 2015, Rucker signed a lease agreement for the DCU Center, paving the way for the ECHL’s announcement of the franchise in February of this year.
In order to ensure their place in the ECHL, the Railers have had to meet a few conditions—including 1,500 season ticket commitments and at least $250,000 in corporate partnerships by the time their ECHL membership is to be granted. Sponsorship numbers are reportedly far exceeding that threshold, though the team has some ways to go if it is to reach the season ticket goal by January, which is the earliest point that the ECHL will officially designate the team as a league member.
However, a recent report the team around 1,100 season ticket commitments, so they are not far from the goal. Additionally, the ECHL is very happy with the team’s performance in drawing sponsorships. More from Telegram.com:
“The Railers are making substantial progress,” ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna said. “We know that they are working hard. The last time I checked, I heard they’ve done exceptional numbers on the sponsorship side. In cases like this, we look at the total business base, and that looks strong, and I know there will be continued efforts between now and first puck drop, all of which is promising.”
The Railers’ corporate sponsorship total is thought to be one of the ECHL’s best, perhaps even in the top five.
“I think the league is pleased with our progress,” [Cliff] Rucker said. “Our corporate levels are extremely high. We’ve gotten a lot of support from the business community.”
The Railers will be the first professional hockey team at the DCU Center since the Worcester Sharks, the AHL franchise that relocated to San Jose after the 2014-15 season.
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