PRINCETON, N.J. – For the 23rd year in a row the ECHL is represented on the American Hockey League champion as nine of the 22 players who played for Norfolk in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs played in the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League. The assistant coach of the Admirals is former ECHL player Mike Flanagan.
There have been 73 former ECHL players on the last six AHL winners and 91 former ECHL players on the last eight champions.
The ECHL has had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the AHL the last 11 years and in the past 10 seasons there have been more ECHL players called up to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined.
The 2012 Kelly Cup champion Florida Everblades are the ECHL affiliate for Norfolk, marking the third time in the last eight seasons that the Kelly Cup champion and its AHL affiliate won their respective league titles. South Carolina and Hershey each won titles in 2009 while Trenton and Philadelphia were champions in 2005. Philip-Michael Devos and Alex Hutchings each played for Florida this season, while Jean-Philippe Cote was a member of the Ontario Reign this season.
The other former ECHL players on the Admirals are Mike Angelidis (Florida, 2006-07), Cory Conacher (Cincinnati, 2010-11), Scott Jackson (Mississippi, 2008-09), Jaroslav Janus (Florida, 2010-11), Michel Ouellet (Wheeling, 2002-03) and Trevor Smith (Utah, 2007-08).
Other former ECHL personnel with the Admirals are athletic trainer Brad Chavis, strength and conditioning coordinator Mark Cinq-Mars and broadcaster Pete Michaud.
Six of the 27 players on runner-up Toronto had ECHL experience with Will Acton (Reading, 2010-11), Philippe Dupuis (Dayton, 2006-07), Josh Engel (Gwinnett, 2008-09 and Reading, 2010-11), Jay Rosehill (Johnstown, 2006-07 and Mississippi, 2007-08), Greg Scott (Reading, 2009-10) and Ben Scrivens (Reading, 2010-11).
Former ECHL coach Gord Dineen is an assistant coach with the Marlies.
Seven times in the last 12 years the winner of the AHL Coach of the Year award has been a former ECHL coach including Scott Gordon and Mike Haviland in 2006 and 2007. Former ECHL coaches won the award four consecutive years from 2001-04 with Don Granato, Bruce Cassidy, Geoff Ward and Claude Noel. The first former ECHL coach to win the award was Peter Laviolette in 1999.
For the fifth season in a row at least nine former ECHL players were named Reebok/AHL Player of the Week with former Florida Everblades center Keith Aucoin, former Chicago Express and Reading Royals goaltender Paul Dainton, Las Vegas Wranglers and former Fresno Falcons and Gwinnett Gladiators goaltender Joe Fallon, former Toledo Walleye goaltender Carter Hutton, former Victoria Salmon Kings goaltender Leland Irving, former Ontario Reign goaltender Darcy Kuemper, former Pensacola Ice Pilots center Kris Newbury, former Gwinnett Gladiators goaltender Eddie Pasquale, former Bakersfield Condors right wing Dan Sexton, former Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender and 2010 Kelly Cup Playoffs co-Most Valuable Player Jeremy Smith and former Wheeling Nailers center and 2010-11 ECHL Rookie of the Year Ben Street.
Former Cincinnati Cyclones forward Cory Conacher was named the AHL’s Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Former Reading Royals goaltender Ben Scrivens was the recipient of the Harry “Hap” Holmes Trophy, which is presented to the goaltenders (appearing in a minimum of 25 games) on the team with the lowest goals-against average at the end of the regular season. Former Alaska Aces center Chris Minard was awarded the Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.
There were nine former ECHL players and two former ECHL coaches in the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.