The Los Angeles Kings will be looking for a new home for their ECHL affiliate next season.
The Manchester Monarchs announced via a post on their website that the 2018-19 season was their last as an organization.
“After many years of investment and financial support, first from the Los Angeles Kings organization, and ultimately by a subsequent investor group, and after seeking assistance from the City, State, and the Arena, we have collectively decided this was our final season,” the statement read in part.
The Monarchs completed their 18th season as a professional hockey team and Kings affiliate. They began play in 2001 as part of the AHL, capturing the Calder Cup at the end of the 2014-15 season. The subsequent season, the Monarchs moved to the ECHL in a swap with the now-AHL, then-ECHL Ontario Reign.
This season, the Monarchs finished third in the North Division. They were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Newfoundland Growlers. The Monarchs saw several of their key players get called up to the AHL, both to the Ontario Reign and to other AHL teams, often due to injuries and trades opening up spots throughout organizations. In fact, the Monarchs led the ECHL in call-ups to the AHL this past season.
Extremely proud of our team. Best record in division from Dec 31 on. Led @ECHL in @TheAHL call-ups. Great group of men who were willing to work & learn. Thank you to our fans, front office, @MonarchsEQ, @RootsAthletes, Aaron Rice, Sully, Jay & Brad Schuler. No regrets & proud. pic.twitter.com/nOzoKGdOF9— Doug Christiansen (@MMCoachDoug) May 10, 2019
The Monarchs qualified for the playoffs in all but one of their seasons since 2001. Despite making playoff runs in each of its four seasons as an ECHL team, including a trip to the Conference Finals in 2016-17, the Monarchs struggled with attendance, finishing next-to-last in attendance this season.
In January, the Monarchs began the process of seeking a new owner, but none could be found.
The Kings may seek to share an ECHL affiliation with another team going forward. Six of the league’s 31 teams did not have an official affiliate last season and instead sent their players to a team that is part of another organization. (For example, the Anaheim Ducks and San Diego Gulls have an arrangement with the Tulsa Oilers, who are technically an affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.)
So disappointing, even as this was expected. Manchester a charming town that obtained endearing cult status for those who played there and went on to win Cups. Looking forward, LAK intends to share an ECHL affiliation with an NHL team, but the NHL team would have to approve that. https://t.co/aPwdYUJ3wq— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) May 15, 2019
This post will be updated with any statements from the Kings organization, and we will keep an eye on the situation as it unfolds.