After 18 years of professional hockey in the Queen City, the ECHL’s Manchester Monarchs have announced they are ceasing operations.

On Wednesday, a letter was posted by the Monarchs on their website made the announcement to their small but loyal fan base. The Monarchs started their reign over Manchester as an American Hockey League club affiliated with the Los Angeles Kinds when the city owned arena, which is now the SNHU Arena, opened in 2001.

The team would drop down a level to the ECHL prior to the start of play for the 2015-16 hockey season when the Los Angeles Kings moved their AHL franchise to Ontario, California.

Over the past three seasons the team went deep into the playoffs but were unsuccessful in capturing the league’s Kelly Cup championship. While the ownership believes they improved the affordability and quality of the family experience, it didn’t really show at the gate with attendance dropping.

Their first year in the ECHL saw the hockey club average 4622 in the regular season but that dwindled each year until this season where they saw, on average, 2458 at each game. Okay, not all showed up as many nights you could count the number of fans in the stands with your fingers and toes. This post season, the club played six home games and averaged slightly more than 1,300 fans a game.

So really, did they make it more affordable and a better family experience? It’s doubtful when you look at the numbers. Clearly, the fans did not like the ECHL product and showed it by staying home.

The club drew its strongest crowd numbers during their days in the AHL which saw many of their players called up to the NHL with LA and captured the Calder Cup championship in 2015.

Officials from the Monarchs has discussions with the city, state, arena and the Kings while they sought out investments from potential buyers but it because very clear to them that ECHL hockey would not be able to continue in the New Hampshire city.

The Monarchs finished the 2018-19 regular season with a record of 39-29-2-2 and bowed out of the postseason in the second round to the Newfoundland Growlers in six games.