PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL has 72 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, surpassing the record 69 players a year ago and marking the sixth consecutive season that there have been more than 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
The total does not include Scott Gomez, who played in the ECHL for the first time during the NHL lockout in 2004-05.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has former players on 29 of the 30 teams and has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 12th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
Former Wheeling Nailers and ECHL All-Star defenseman Paul Bissonnette became the Paul Bissonnette became the 356th player to play in the NHL when he made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in their 4-3 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden.
There have been 100 former ECHL players who have played their first NHL game in the last four seasons including 26 in 2007-08. Six played in both the ECHL and the NHL last season with goaltenders Chris Beckford-Tseu (Alaska and St. Louis), Dan LaCosta (Elmira and Columbus), Jonathan Quick (Reading and Los Angeles) and Danny Taylor (Reading and Los Angeles) and left wings Adam Berti (Pensacola and Chicago) and Joe Jensen (Wheeling and Carolina).
There are 21 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau, New York Islanders head coach Scott Gordon and Carolina Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette. It is the fourth consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL.
The ECHL is represented for the eighth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2008 by Aaron Downey of the Detroit Red Wings.
There are 18 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2008-09 with referees David Banfield, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers. Barton, Joannette, Leggo, McCauley, Nowak, Pollock, Rooney and Sharrers all worked the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Players in italics have never played in NHL
(IR) – Injured Reserve
Former ECHL Coaches and Players On NHL Opening Day Rosters:
Anaheim Ducks (Bakersfield Condors) – Assistant coach Dave Farrish (Louisiana, 2000-04 and Pensacola, 2004-05), video coach Joe Trotta (Peoria, 2000-01), Francois Beauchemin (Mississippi, 2001-02) and George Parros (Reading, 2003-04).
Atlanta Thrashers (Gwinnett Gladiators) – Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05), Johan Hedberg (Baton Rouge, 1997-98) and Mike Hoffman (Peoria, 2003-04).
Boston Bruins – Assistant coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-2000), Shane Hnidy (Baton Rouge, 1996-97 and Florida, 2004-05) Michael Ryder (Tallahassee, 2000-01 and Mississippi, 2001-02) and Tim Thomas (Birmingham, 1997-98).
Buffalo Sabres – Associate coach Brian McCutcheon (Columbus, 1996-97) and Patrick Lalime (Hampton Roads, 1994-95).
Calgary Flames (Las Vegas Wranglers) – Associate coach Jim Playfair (Dayton, 1994-95), director of goalie development Jaime McLennan (Richmond, 1991-92), Adam Pardy (Las Vegas, 2005-06) and Andre Roy (Charlotte, 1997-98).
Carolina Hurricanes (Florida Everblades) – Head coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98), Joe Corvo (Hampton Roads, 1998-99) and Chad LaRose (Florida, 2003-04).
Chicago Blackhawks (Fresno Falcons) – Assistant coach Mike Haviland (Trenton, 1999-2001 and 2004-05 and Atlantic City, 2001-04), video coach Ryan Stewart (Greenville, 1998-2002 and 2003-04 and Florida, 2002-03), assistant coach John Torchetti, Tim Hambly (Las Vegas, 2004-06), Adam Hobson (Pensacola, 2007-08) and Matt Walker (Peoria, 2000-01).
Colorado Avalanche (Johnstown Chiefs) – Ben Guite (Tallahassee, 2000-01) and Cody McLeod (San Diego, 2005-06).
Columbus Blue Jackets (Johnstown Chiefs) – Assistant coach Claude Noel (Roanoke, 1990-91, Dayton, 1991-93 and Toledo, 2002-03) and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Dayton, 2004-05).
Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Krys Barch (Richmond, 2001-02 and Greenville, 2004-06) and B.J. Crombeen (Idaho, 2005-07).
Edmonton Oilers (Stockton Thunder) – Assistant coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1996-97), Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (Greenville, 2004-06) and Mathieu Roy (Columbus, 2003-04).
Florida Panthers (Florida Everblades) – Kamil Kreps (Texas, 2004-05), Brett McLean (Johnstown, 1999-2000) and Tomas Vokoun (Wheeling, 1995-96).
Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91), Richard Clune (IR) (Idaho, 2007-08), Raitis Ivanans (Pensacola, 1999-2000 and Toledo and Baton Rouge, 2001-02) and Jason LaBarbera (Charlotte, 2000-02).
Minnesota Wild (Mississippi Sea Wolves) – Assistant coach and video consultant Matt Shaw (Mobile, 1997-98), Derek Boogaard (Louisiana, 2002-03), Andrew Brunette (Hampton Roads, 1993-94) and Craig Weller (Charlotte, 2002-03).
Montreal Canadiens (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Francis Bouillon (IR) (Wheeling, 1996-97) and Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06).
Nashville Predators(Cincinnati Cyclones) – Assistant coach Peter Horachek (Louisville, 1990-91 and Trenton, 2001-02), Dan Ellis, (Idaho, 2003-04), Vern Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02), Rich Peverley (South Carolina, 2004-05 and Reading, 2005-06) and Jerred Smithson (Trenton, 2000-01).
New Jersey Devils (Trenton Devils) – Sheldon Brookbank (Mississippi, 2001-02).
New York Islanders (Utah Grizzlies) – Head coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown, 1988-89, Nashville, 1992-93 and Roanoke, 1998-2000), assistant coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06), assistant coach Daniel Lacroix (Atlantic City, 2001-02), Joey MacDonald (Toledo, 2001-02 and 2005-06), Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-2000) and Thomas Pock (Charlotte, 2004-05).
New York Rangers (Charlotte Checkers) – Video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92), Daniel Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06), Scott Gomez (Alaska, 2004-05), Patrick Rissmiller (Cincinnati, 2002-03), Stephen Valiquette (Hampton Roads, 1998-99 and Trenton 1999-2000) and Miika Wiikman (Charlotte, 2007-08).
Ottawa Senators (Elmira Jackals) – Alex Auld (Columbia, 2001-02) and Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-2000).
Philadelphia Flyers (Wheeling Nailers) – Jean-Sebastien Aubin (Dayton, 1997-98), Martin Biron (South Carolina, 1997-98), Riley Cote (Dayton, 2003-04) and Glen Metropolit (Nashville, 1995-96 and Pensacola, 1996-97).
Pittsburg Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Paul Bissonnette (Wheeling, 2005-08), John Curry (Wheeling, 2007-08 and Las Vegas, 2007-08), Ruslan Fedotenko (Trenton, 1999-2000) and Dany Sabourin (Johnstown, 2000-02; Las Vegas, 2003-04 and Wheeling 2004-05).
San Jose Sharks (Phoenix RoadRunners) – Goalie coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92), assistant coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson, 1999-2000) and Jody Shelley (Johnstown, 1998-2000).
St. Louis Blues (Alaska Aces) –D.J. King (IR) (Alaska, 2005-06) and Manny Legace (Richmond, 1996-97).
Tampa Bay Lightning (Augusta Lynx) – Ryan Craig (Pensacola, 2003-04), David Koci (Wheeling, 2001-03), Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92) and Mike Smith (Lexington, 2002-03).
Toronto Maple Leafs (Reading Royals) – Jeff Finger (IR) (Reading, 2003-04).
Vancouver Canucks (Victoria Salmon Kings) – Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05), Lawrence Nycholat (IR) (Jackson, 2000-01) and Curtis Sanford (Peoria 2000-02).
Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Head coach Bruce Boudreau (Mississippi, 1996-99) and Dave Steckel (Reading, 2004-05).