Royals, Flyers renew affiliation for 6th-straight season


The Reading Royals are preparing to skate into their sixth season as the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.

The two teams announced Monday that they have renewed their partnership for the 2019-20 season. The agreement includes an option for the 2020-21 season.

"Over the last five years, we have seen how advantageous it has been to have each of our minor league affiliates, which includes the AHL's Lehigh Valley Phantoms, in close proximity to Philadelphia, as we continue to develop players within the Flyers system," said Chuck Fletcher, the Flyers' president of hockey operations and general manager.

Over the last five seasons, 32 Royals players have advanced to Lehigh Valley or Philadelphia.

"We are honored to continue our strong partnership with the Flyers and hope to continue to develop players for the Phantoms and Flyers while maintaining our goal of bringing a second Kelly Cup to Reading," said Farrar.

The Royals have qualified for the ECHL playoffs in four of the first give years they have been affiliated with the Flyers.

"Our affiliation has provided Royals players the chance to develop within a first-class organizational structure where prospects are given the proper attention and coaching necessary to reach the next level," said Kirk MacDonald, who is entering his third season as the Royals' head coach. "We take pride in helping to advance the Flyers' prospects and continue the strong and winning culture built in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and Reading."

The Royals will celebrate the renewal of the affiliation during their game on December 14, when the team will host Affiliation Night and Mascot Mania. The players will wear special affiliation jerseys, and Gritty, the Flyers' mascot, will make an appearance. The game will also feature the Royals annual "Teddy Bear Toss."

The Royals will begin the home portion of their 19th season at the Santander Arena on Saturday, October 19. The 7 p.m. puck drop will be preceded by a 3 p.m. block party that will feature a free concert by Cracker.