skip navigation

Wenatchee Wild Joins ECEL

09/25/2019, 1:00pm EDT

Guilford, Conn. - Famous American author Horace Greeley has a famous saying – “Go West, young man.” At the ECEL, we hear his message loud and clear, as we added another team from the Pacific Northwest, the Wenatchee Wild.

The Wenatchee Wild, based in Wenatchee, WA, are located about three hours from Seattle across I-90. This season the Wild will send two teams to the ECEL - one each at the U18 and U16 level. One of the determining factors in joining the league was due to the close proximity to various high-level college programs. 

“Many of our players want to play NCAA Division-I hockey and playing in the ECEL provides our players with exposure to the NCAA hockey hotbed of the east coast,” said Head Coach Ryan McKelvie. 

McKelvie was a vital part of the Minnesota State University (Mankato) program, having been a part of the leadership group during his last three seasons. After a successful playing career, he went on to Bemidji State for two years as a Graduate Assistant before originally joining the Wild for two years. Following a year-long stop in Anchorage, McKelvie became the head coach at Division-III Lake Forest College for three years. Finally, he landed back with the Wild and has remained ever since. 

One of the reasons that McKelvie came back to the Pacific Northwest was his desire to return to a place that has meant a lot to him. “Wenatchee is a special place for me and my family,” said McKelvie. “This is a small knit community that does an incredible job supporting the local hockey teams. I was fortunate to be with the organization when the Wild first came to town as an expansion team, then left to coach college hockey, then was fortunate to be hired back when our new owner took over and I was hired to start the development teams.” 

The sense of community surrounding Wenatchee has been a main piece in their growing on-ice performance. McKelvie is excited about his group at the U18 level and expects them to be able to build upon last year’s finish. “Our U18 team is coming off of a really strong season, and we will challenge our players to see if they can have an even better year.” 

The U18 team is not the only team that has the potential to be very good this season. At the U16 level, the Wild have added quality recruits that they feel can help the team take the next step. But, McKelvie believes that no one player in particular stands out; rather, it’s about the collective assortment of returning and new players. 

“I don’t think it would be fair to our players to single out anyone before the start of the season,” McKelvie said. “We have some strong returners on both team and feel that we have added quality recruits that will help both teams have successful seasons.”

This upcoming season, the Wild look to be a top organization in the ECEL, competing in the Premier division at both the U18 and U16 level. These divisions at each age group will be very competitive, and the Wild look to be right the mix throughout the year beginning in less than three weeks at the Fall Classic. 

The U18’s will open up its inaugural season against fellow newcomers, Mercer Chiefs on day 2 of the ECEL Fall Classic. Meanwhile, the U16’s will open its first season against guest team Bishops College that same day. 


Founded in 2013, the East Coast Elite League is a four-weekend showcase series that will provide maximum exposure for its member organizations and their players, by playing in top venues, in ideal scouting locations. Spread across the U15, U16, and U18 divisions and represented by several of the top hockey organizations across the country, the ECEL is the premier showcase series in the United States, unmatched in its format and exposure opportunities. For more information on the ECEL, log on to or on Twitter @ECELHockey and Instagram @ecel_tier1. 

Tag(s): Home