MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Wednesday, the Manchester Monarchs announced that they will be ceasing operations.
The franchise played in Manchester for 18 seasons, playing in the American Hockey League until the 2014-’15 season. Manchester transitioned to the ECHL a season later after their parent organization, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, transferred AHL affiliation rights to what was then their ECHL team, the Ontario Reign in Ontario, California.
Since the league change, attendance slowly dwindled, with the Monarchs finishing second-to-last in the ECHL in attendance during the 2018-’19 season with 88,501 fans in attendance over 36 regular season home games.
The team was put up for sale earlier this year, but no buyers could be found. After discussions with the city, state, Los Angeles Kings, and the SNHU Arena, it became clear that ECHL hockey was not longer viable in Manchester according to Monarchs CEO Brian Cheek.
“When we took over the team, our hope was that reinvestment in a winning hockey team and investment in the Manchester community would reinvigorate Manchester’s enthusiasm for minor league hockey” said Cheek.
The Monarchs finished the 2018-19 season with a record of 39-29-2-2, advancing to the ECHL Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Mayor Joyce Craig released the following statement on Wednesday:
“On behalf of the City of Manchester, I want to thank the Monarchs organization for being a member of our community for 18 seasons.
While concerts and other entertainment at the SNHU Arena are regularly selling out, the Monarchs have unfortunately seen steady decreases in attendance since their move from AHL to ECHL over the last few years.
The SNHU Arena is a key partner in making Manchester’s downtown a destination. I have full confidence the SNHU Arena will continue to be a valued partner in bringing additional entertainment options to residents and visitors.”