PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the 2012 inductees for the ECHL Hall of Fame are Bill Coffey, Sheldon Gorski, John Marks, Dave Seitz and Bob Woods.
The five will be formally inducted as the fifth class of the ECHL Hall of Fame at a luncheon ceremony that will be held in conjunction with the 2012 ECHL Board of Governors Midseason Meeting at the Embassy Suites in North Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 18, 2012. Details on the luncheon and ticket information will be released in the coming weeks.
“This year’s class includes a founding father, Bill Coffey; our all-time winningest coach, John Marks; and three outstanding players in Sheldon Gorski, Dave Seitz and Bob Woods,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “All three left their marks on the ECHL record book and made a significant contribution to our League.”
Bill Coffey was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the ECHL. Along with inaugural ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Henry Brabham, Coffey came up with the idea to form the league during the summer of 1988. He was the original owner of the Knoxville Cherokees, and also assisted in establishing the Erie Panthers, giving the league five teams for its inaugural season in 1988-89. He also established one of the ECHL’s first expansion teams, the Greensboro Monarchs, who entered the league in 1989-90.
Sheldon Gorksi began playing in the ECHL as a rookie in 1990-91 with the Louisville IceHawks, and went on to play eight season in the league with the Icehawks, Louisville RiverFrogs, Miami Matadors and Pensacola Ice Pilots. He ranks sixth in ECHL history with 316 goals and 608 points, and is tied for fifth with a 0.67 goals-per game average. Three times during his career, Gorski scored 50 or more goals, including a career-high 56 in 1991-92. He was an All-ECHL Second Team slection in 1990-91 and was named to the All-ECHL First Team in 1991-92. Gorski played in the 1993 and 1998 ECHL All-Star Games, tallying five assists, which is tied for third all time. He is one of just three players in league history to tally 100 or more points in consecutive seasons (1990-91 and 1991-92).
John Marks ranks as one of the most successful coaches in the ECHL’s 24-year history. He joined the league as head coach of the expansion Charlotte Checkers in 1993-94 and won at least 35 games nine times. He posted an all-time record of 491-422-95 in 15 seasons as an ECHL head coach with Charlotte, Greenville, Pensacola and Augusta, and is the league’s all-time leader in games coached (1,008), wins (491) and seasons (15). His teams also excelled during the postseason as he led Charlotte to the 1996 Riley Cup championship and Greenville to the 2002 Kelly Cup championship, joining 2009 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee John Brophy as the only coaches to win both a Riley Cup and Kelly Cup title. His 10 postseason appearances are second behind only Brophy, while his 81 postseason games coached are third and his 45 wins are tied for third.
Dave Seitz played in 489 games over eight seasons with the South Carolina Stingrays. He ranks sixth in ECHL history with 384 assists, is 10th with 587 points and is 19th with 217 goals. Seitz was part of South Carolina’s 1997 and 2001 Kelly Cup championship teams, and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2001 Kelly Cup Playoffs after leading the postseason with 15 assists and 28 points and tying for the lead with 13 goals. His 73 postseason points are tied for seventh all-time, while his 44 assists are tied for ninth and his 29 goals are tied for 13th. Seitz played in the 1998 and 1999 ECHL All-Star Games, and is tied for third in All-Star history with five career assists.
Bob Woods ranks sixth in ECHL history with 599 games played, and is the all-time leader among defensemen with 159 goals, over 10 seasons with Johnstown, Hampton Roads, Mobile, Tallahassee and Mississippi. He is eighth all-time with 364 assists and his 523 points are 22nd all-time. Both marks are second among defensemen, trailing only 2008 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Chris Valicevic. Woods holds the ECHL record for shots on goal in a game with 17 on March 14, 1998 and was an All-ECHL Second Team selection three times (1996-97, 1998-99 and 2000-01). Woods, who led ECHL defensemen in points in 1996-97 and in goals in 1998-99, was part of Mississippi’s 1999 Kelly Cup championship team. Following his retirement as a player, he was head coach of the Sea Wolves from 2001-2005.
The inaugural ECHL Hall of Fame class inducted in 2008 was Henry Brabham, Patrick J. Kelly, Chris Valicevic and Nick Vitucci while the second class in 2009 was John Brophy, Blake Cullen, Tom Nemeth and Rod Taylor. The 2010 ECHL Hall of Fame class was Cam Brown, E.A. “Bud” Gingher, Olaf Kolzig and Darryl Noren and the 2011 class was Richard Adams, Phil Berger, Luke Curtin and Joe Ernst. Inductees are enshrined in the ECHL Hall of Fame, which is open around the clock online at ECHLHallOfFame.com, as well as being recognized at the league office in Princeton, N.J. and in the ECHL section at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
The third-longest tenured professional hockey league, behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League has grown from five teams in four states in 1988-89 into a coast-to-coast league with 20 teams in 16 states in 2011-12.
Hall of Fame members are selected in four categories: Player, Developmental Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. Players must have concluded their career as an active player for a minimum of three playing seasons, though not continuous or full seasons. Development Players must have began their career in the ECHL and went on to a distinguished career in the NHL, playing a minimum of 260 regular season games in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. Builders may be active or inactive whereas Referee/Linesman must have concluded their active officiating career for a minimum of three playing seasons.
No more than five candidates may be elected to the ECHL Hall of Fame each year with no more than three Players, one Developmental Player, two Builders and one Referee/Linesman. The Developmental Player, Builder and the Referee/Linesman categories are dependent upon the number of candidates in the Player category.
The nomination and/or selection of candidates will be determined by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and its Chairman Patrick J. Kelly.
Only members of the Selection Committee, the Board of Governors, teams or persons affiliated with the ECHL may submit official nominations which must be made in writing to the league office. Fans are encouraged to contact their team to propose names for nomination.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 20 teams in 16 states in 2011-12.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• 474 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2010-11.
• Seven ECHL players have made their NHL debut in 2011-12: former Greenville Road Warriors defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon (Philadelphia on Nov. 21), former Victoria Salmon Kings defenseman Kris Fredheim (Minnesota on Nov. 17), former Toledo Storm and Reading Royals center Bracken Kearns (Florida on Oct. 20), former Bakersfield Condors center Maxime Macenauer (Anaheim on Oct. 7), former Reading Royals goaltender Ben Scrivens (Toronto on Nov. 3), former Cincinnati Cyclones defenseman Frederic St. Denis (Montreal on Nov. 16) and former Ontario Reign defenseman Colten Teubert (Edmonton on Nov. 3).
• The ECHL has had 282 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.
• 218 ECHL players have played their first game in the last seven seasons for an average of more than 31 per year.
• ECHL had a record 81 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2011-12, surpassing the 79 from 2010-11 and marking the ninth year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 15th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 30 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL in 2011-12 including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.
• 22 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2011-12 with referees David Banfield, Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre, Graham Skilliter and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Matt MacPherson, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the 11th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion with Boston Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward, players Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder and Tim Thomas, radio broadcaster Dave Goucher and scout Tom McVie. Thomas is the first former ECHL player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There were 34 former players and 19 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the sixth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the eighth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• Former Hampton Roads Admirals left wing Andrew Brunette became the first ECHL alum to play in 1,000 regular-season NHL games when he reached the milestone with the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 1, 2011.
• Former ECHL and current Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was the recipient of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in the NHL in 2010-11, marking the second time he has won the award in the past three seasons. Thomas set a single-season NHL record with a .938 save percentage.
• Former ECHL player and current Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was the recipient of the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s Coach of the Year in 2010-11.
• ECHL was represented in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game by Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, while former ECHL coaches Mike Haviland and Peter Laviolette served as coaches for the All-Star Game.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott and John Michael of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville and Kelly Murray are now with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals, respectively, while former ECHL director of communications Jason Rothwell is the creative director for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,000 call-ups involving more than 1,600 players and in 2010-11 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,339 fans per game in 2010-11, marking the seventh consecutive season and the 19th time in the last 21 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.