The Philadelphia Flyers have announced a multi-year extension to their affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, keeping them together through the next two seasons. The deal also includes an option for the 2024-25 campaign. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher released the following statement:
We’ve had an excellent relationship with the Royals for the last eight years and are thrilled to continue that partnership. We have put a big emphasis on the development of our young prospects and our club has seen the difference firsthand how beneficial it is to have not just one, but both of our primary minor league affiliates just a few hours away.
The Flyers affiliation system has been one of the most stable in recent league history, with both the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Royals in place for the last eight seasons (with the Phantoms much longer than that). While the ECHL club isn’t used for top prospects, Reading does have a history of helping the development of goaltenders in particular, with names like Jonathan Quick, Philipp Grubauer, and James Reimer, all among their alumni. In terms of recent Flyers prospects to go through the system, Felix Sandstrom and Max Willman are shining examples of how the low-minors can help nurture raw prospects and help their professional careers reach the next level.
The “closest affiliation chain in professional hockey” as the release states, the Flyers have immediate access to players for call-up situations and should be able to monitor progression even more closely.
Reading finished the 2021-22 season with a 45-17-9 record, though ended up losing in the second round of the playoffs to the Newfoundland Growlers.