Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Las Vegas Sun
Monday, March 30, 2009 | 7:45 p.m.
- Wranglers mount comeback to snap losing skid (3-28-09)
- Peter Ferraro suspended for season (3-27-09)
- Emotions boil over as Aces sink Wranglers (3-25-09)
- Alaska snaps Wranglers’ win streak (3-21-09)
- Rookie’s hot debut ignites Wranglers (3-21-09)
- Stellar goaltending extends Wranglers’ hot streak (3-18-09)
- Wranglers come of age with adult-themed promotion (3-18-09)
- Fisher garners ECHL honor (3-17-09)
- Wranglers stymie Steelheads again (3-14-09)
- Wranglers open home stand in grand fashion (3-13-09)
- Battle rages over fighting (3-13-09)
Despite losing their last two games, the Las Vegas Wranglers finally captured an official playoff spot.
The Wranglers (32-31-8) have distanced themselves far enough from the last place Phoenix Roadrunners (29-34-5) to guarantee one of the eight playoff slots allotted to the nine teams in the National Conference.
With only two games remaining in the regular season against division foe Stockton Thunder (32-31-7) this weekend at the Orleans Arena, the Wranglers could head into the postseason a second, third or fourth seed in the Pacific Division.
"We aren't worried about seeding, we are just worried about getting healthy and getting our guys back from the AHL," said Wranglers coach and general manager Glen Gulutzan.
If the playoffs started today, the Wranglers would face the Ontario Reign (37-29-5) in the first round.
Aside from securing a postseason berth, the Wranglers also learned of new division realignments for next season as the Mid-Season ECHL Board of Governors Meeting concluded Monday.
In that meeting, the Board learned that Phoenix would cease operations at the conclusion of the current season. The Dayton Bombers and the Mississippi Sea Wolves also informed the Board that they would not compete in the 2009-10 season.
The addition of the Toledo Walleye leaves 19 teams in the ECHL with 11 in the American Conference and eight in the National conference. Las Vegas will remain in the Pacific Division with Bakersfield, Ontario and Stockton.
"As long as you have eight teams, you still have a pretty balanced schedule," Gulutzan said.
The ECHL also approved Ontario to host the 2010 All-Star Game and Skills Competition on Jan 19-20. The Reign finished second in the league with an average of attendance of 5,856 fans in just their first season of operations.
"They've done a new job in Ontario" Gulutzan said. "They have a nice building and a successful team. I think it will be a real successful event up there."
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].