AHL Joins ECHL, Approves Mandatory Visors
PRINCETON, N.J. - The American Hockey League has joined the ECHL in requiring that all skaters wear approved visors. The AHL announced on Wednesday that beginning with the upcoming 2006-07 season that all skaters, regardless of age or experience, will be required to wear approved visors.
The ECHL was the first professional league to require protective visors beginning with the 2003-04 season. The required protection has resulted in significant reductions in the number of serious eye injuries.
The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the AHL in 2005-06 and the ECHL had 416 call ups to the AHL, involving 263 players, in 2005-06. The ECHL has had more players called up to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined each of the past four seasons with 1,646 call ups involving almost 1,000 players.
For the 17th consecutive season an ECHL player is a member of the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Champion as there are 11 former ECHL players on the Hershey Bears. Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau is the first coach to win both the Calder Cup and the Kelly Cup, having led Mississippi to the ECHL championship in 1999. Hershey assistant coach Bob Woods was the player/assistant coach for Mississippi from 1998-2001 and was head coach of the Sea Wolves from 2001-05. Bears goaltender Kirk Daubenspeck won the Kelly Cup with South Carolina in 2001.
In addition to Daubenspeck (Jacksonville, 1997-99; Chesapeake, 1998-99 and South Carolina, 1999-2006), the Hershey players with ECHL experience are 2005 ECHL Rookie of the Year Joey Tenute (South Carolina, 2004-05), Dean Arsene (Charlotte, 2001-02 and Reading, 2003-04), Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05), J.F. Fortin (Hampton Roads, 1999-2000 and Richmond, 2001-02), Jonas Johansson (South Carolina, 2004-06), Boyd Kane (Charlotte, 1998-2001), Graham Mink (Richmond, 2001-02), Lawrence Nycholat (Jackson, 2000-01), Dave Steckel (Reading, 2004-05) and Martin Wilde (Trenton, 2003-04 and Reading, 2004-05).