The playoffs are here (well, mostly), and that means there are fans left without their favorite teams to cheer on.
Fear not. You want play off action, you get playoff action. Welcome to the state by state guide to the playoffs.
Sorry, buy you are a little too late on this one. The Huntsville Havoc lost their playoff series 3 games to two.
The Alaska Aces are 2-0 against the Grizzlies in the ECHL.
Two of the three Alaska NAHL were eliminated, but the Fairbanks Ice Dogs won theirs series 3-0, with 16 goals for, and 4 against.
Nothing going in Arizona, with the two Central Hockey League teams failing to make the playoffs, the Coyotes nowhere near a slot, and the folding of the Phoenix Raodrunners of the ECHL. Phoenix was the only team in the Western Conference of the ECHL not to make the playoffs.
Nope. Nothing doing.
Ah, California, rich with playoff hockey. Beyond the Ducks and Sharks, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a game, unless you are in Fresno. But if you happen to be in Bakersfield, Stockton, or Ontario (the one next to Los Angeles, not the one in Canada), then you are in luck. Hurry though, because much like a Sopranos marathon, they are knocking each other off quickly.
Sure, the Avalanche stunk. But why mourn the end of a terrible season when one of the most exciting hockey teams around resides less then 45 miles from Denver? Look north to Windsor (outside of Ft. Collins, home of the New Belgium Brewery (totally wind powered)) to the Colorado Eagles, who have shattered the CHL sellout record, have won the championship twice since their inception in 2003. This year, the All Star Game was held in Windsor, with the CHL taking on the Eagles. The Eagles won 8-4. What else needs to be said. They swept their first round, and are about to start their second round. Get your tickets now.
Come on, you have the Wolfpack. You always have the Wolfpack. Hartford takes on Worcester.
Nope. Go next door. Any next door.
* District of Columbia
Do you need anything other than the Capitals? See the Virginias for some help, but you should feel lucky to have what you have.
How lucky are you, Florida? You may have lost the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers to the great stats monster in the sky, but you still have the Florida Everblades of the ECHL. Get yourself to the city of Estero if you can get past their name.
Thrashers: done. Columbus Cottonmouths: lost in first round. Augusta Lynx: Folded mid-season. Gwinnett Gladiators: STILL IN IT TO WIN IT!!! Get your ECHL action at one of the nicest minor league arenas out there.
Former ECHL Kelly Cup champs, the Idaho Steelheads are in the middle of the first round.
Oh, the possibilities in Illinois. First, of course, are the Chicago Blackhawks. Then you have the AHL Rockford Icehogs and the Peoria Rivermen. And… that does it. The other teams in Illinois missed out on the playoffs. Sorry.
Two chances for glory in Indiana. The Indiana Ice of the USHL are in their first round, while the Fort Wayne Komets came away with the best record in the IHL. Both teams have to be experienced live. Well worth the drive.
Even though the Chops didn’t qualify, there is still playoff hockey in Iowa. Waterloo and Cedar Rapids are in the first round, and I rarely bet against the Cedar Rapids Roughriders. USHL in Iowa lives on.
Believe it or not, the Topeka Roadrunners are still alive.
Where were you a week ago? The Mudbugs got shutout of the first round in the CHL.
The Portland Pirates start their first round shortly. That is all.
Is there hockey in Maryland? Pro hockey?
Bruins. Oh, you want more? How about the AHL Worcester Sharks? OK, then.
Three out of four Michigan teams of the IHL made the playoffs (Kalamazoo, Port Huron, and Muskegon), as well as the Grand Rapids Griffins( AHL) and the USA National Team Development Program team (NAHL). A few OHL teams made the playoffs, but they are done.
And Pinball Pete’s skates in their final tonight. East Lansing Suburban Ice. Be there.
You would think, eh?
The Mississippi River Kings go to the semifinals against the Colorado Eagles. Yeah, good luck with that.
You have the Blues. You should feel lucky.
The Lincoln Stars are still in the hunt. Go for the most intimidating opening ceremony ever.
Las Vegas Wranglers. Crazy promos, arenas in casinos, what more do you need? If you need more, it’s right on the strip.
* New Hampshire
The Monarchs did not make it, so NH is done.
* New Jersey
Devils, and after that, you have the Devils (of Trenton). New Jersey has a new state motto. “Devils.”
* New Mexico
No one qualified. And the state will be lucky to have the Scorpions next season.
* New York
Aside from the Rangers, only the Elmira Jackals made the playoffs. With the large number of teams in the state of New York, that is a little pathetic.
* North Carolina
The hottest team in the NHL is also playing alongside the Fayetteville FireAntz of the SPHL, who are in the finals.
Update: I left out the Charlotte Checkers, who are still in the first round of the ECHL playoffs. Sorry about that. (thanks to Possum for the reminder)
* North Dakota
The Bismark Bobcats are still in it, NAHL action, and the Fargo Force are still playing the first round of the USHL. Wood chippers are not allowed in the arena.
If the Blue Jackets making it for the first time aren’t enough for you (or even if it is), the Cincinnati Cyclones (a Jerseys and Hockey Love favorite) are in the playoffs, coming off last year’s championship win. And the Mahoning Valley Phantoms won their first round of NAHL playoff action and move on.
The OKC Blazers were eliminated, and the Tulsa Oilers never made the playoffs. That is all for OK.
The Portland Winterhawks never had a shot.
A wealth of playoff hockey, no matter where you are in the state. Aside from both NHL teams, you have the WB/S Penguins, the Philadelphia Phantoms, and the Hershey Bears of the AHL. If only the Johnstown Chiefs had made it. Sigh.
* Rhode Island
The Providence Bruins are gearing up for the first round. Get the to the Dunkin Donuts Center.
* South Carolina
The South Carolina Stingrays want you to think hockey when you travel to their state.
* South Dakota
The Sioux Falls Stampede push in the first round of the USHL playoffs.
Sure, the Predators tanked in the last few games. But the Knoxville Ice Bears are fighting for their cup in the SPHL finals. If you think the Preds need your money, you can imagine what the Ice Bears need. Get thee to the rink.
Stars? Who are they? You can forget about the Stars when you have the Texas Brahmas taking on the Odessa Jackalopes in the CHL semifinals. Plus, the Houston Aeros of the AHL start their series soon.
The Utah Grizzlies are fighting for their lives in the ECHL.
There are the Washington Capitals, but you knew that.
The Spokane Chiefs, last season’s Memorial Cup winner, is the only team in Washington with a hope in the WHL.
* West Virginia
The Wheeling Nailers are still playing. ECHL action next to the river.
The Milwaukee Admirals are about to start. Go see the worst jersey in the AHL.
That takes care of that. I’m sure I missed some stuff, and this will change almost as soon as I post it, but there you go. Plenty of playoff action, and teams that will appreciate your dollars and attendance far more than an NHL team.
If I missed anything significant, please let me know in the comments.
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