All-ECHL First Team Announced

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Thursday announced its All-ECHL First Team for 2008-09 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, who were asked to select a goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards.

2008-09 All-ECHL First Team

F – Kevin Baker, Florida Everblades (68 gp, 57g, 43a, 100 pts, +6)
F – Bryan Ewing, Wheeling Nailers (65 gp, 43g, 47a, 90 pts, +1)
F – Travis Morin, South Carolina Stingrays (70 gp, 24g, 62a, 88 pts, +35)
D – Ryan Gunderson, Trenton Devils (70 gp, 5g, 51a, 56 pts, -14)
D – Dylan Yeo, Victoria Salmon Kings (52 gp, 10g, 33a, 43 pts, +15)
G – Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, Alaska Aces (50 gp, 32-16-2, 2.33 GAA, .922 Save Pct.)

The ECHL will announce the Sportsmanship Award winner on Friday.

Kevin Baker of the Florida Everblades leads the ECHL with 57 goals, 100 points, 27 power-play goals, 48 power-play points and 10 game-winning goals. He is the first ECHL player since 2000-01 to score 50 goals and his 57 goals rank 11th in league history. Baker, who is under contract to Rochester of the American Hockey League, has tied the league record for power-play goals and is the 63rd player in ECHL history to score 100 points. In the last three seasons he has 122 goals and 237 points in 174 regular season games and was chosen to be a starter in the ECHL All-Star Game in 2007 and the 2009. He was selected to the All-ECHL First Team in 2006-07 when he tied for fifth with 81 points (36g-45a).

Bryan Ewing of the Wheeling Nailers leads ECHL rookies with 43 goals, six shorthand goals, 90 points, 19 power-play assists and 32 power-play points while his 47 assists and six shorthand points tie him for the rookie lead and his 13 power-play goals tie him for second among rookies. His six shorthand goals are tied for the overall league lead while his 90 points are second overall and his 43 goals rank third. Ewing, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team on Wednesday, is tied for third with six shorthand points while his 47 assists are tied for fourth and his 13 power-play goals tie him for fifth. The 43 goals break the Wheeling rookie record of 42 goals by Steve Gibson in 1995-96 and Ewing is the first Nailers player to score 90 points since Eric Royal had 92 points in 1996-97. Ewing is under contract to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League and he has four penalty minutes in three games for the Penguins.

Travis Morin of the South Carolina Stingrays leads the league with a team record 62 assists while ranking third with 86 points. He is the ECHL leader with five shorthand assists and eight shorthand points while ranking third with 29 power-play assists and fourth with 35 power-play points. Morin, who is under contract to the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, led league rookies and tied for the league lead in 2007-08 with six shorthand goals while ranking second among rookies and third overall with 84 points. He was third among rookies and tied for sixth overall with 50 assists.

Ryan Gunderson of the Trenton Devils lead the league with 40 power-play assists while his 43 power-play points are first among ECHL defensemen and second overall. He is second among defensemen with a team record 50 assists and 56 points after finishing second as a rookie with 42 assists and tying for third with 46 points. Gunderson, who is under contract to Lowell of the AHL, was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team in 2007-08 and has been selected to play in the ECHL All-Star Game his first two seasons.

Dylan Yeo of the Victoria Salmon Kings is tied for fourth among ECHL defensemen with 20 power-play assists and 25 power-play points while ranking fifth with 33 assists and sixth with 43 points. He is under contract to Manitoba of the AHL and has five points (1g-4a) in 14 games for the Moose. He was voted to be a starter in the ECHL All-Star Game.

Jean-Philippe Lamoureux of the Alaska Aces is 32-16-2 with a league record seven shutouts and a league-leading 32 wins. The 24 year old is tied for the league lead with a save percentage of .922 while ranking second with a goals-against average of 2.33 and 3,011 minutes and fifth with 1,377 saves. He was voted as the starting goaltender for the National Conference for the ECHL All-Star Game, stopping nine of 10 shots in the first period, and was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team on Wednesday.

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Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
* 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 21 teams in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
* The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
* Affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League marking 12th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
* 404 former ECHL players have played in NHL.
* 148 have played their first NHL game in the last four seasons.
* Record 49 former ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season: former Idaho Steelheads right wing Jay Beagle (Washington on Feb. 11), former Wheeling Nailers and ECHL All-Star defenseman Paul Bissonnette (Pittsburgh on Oct. 4), former Stockton Thunder and ECHL All-Star right wing Troy Bodie (Anaheim on Jan. 16), former Bakersfield Condors center Alexandre Bolduc (Vancouver on Nov. 27), former Florida Everblades defenseman Brett Carson (Carolina on Dec. 7), former South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Sean Collins (Washington on Dec. 6), former Las Vegas Wranglers and Wheeling Nailers goaltender John Curry (Pittsburgh on Nov. 26), former Greenville Grrrowl goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (Edmonton on Oct. 17), former Johnstown Chiefs center Andre Deveaux (Toronto on Nov. 27), former Dayton Bombers center Philippe Dupuis (Colorado on Dec. 12), former Gwinnett Gladiators left wing Chris Durno (Colorado on Jan. 18), former Gwinnett Gladiators right wing Pat Dwyer (Carolina on Nov. 2), former Columbus Cottonmouths and Tallahassee Tiger Sharks left wing Mitch Fritz (New York Islanders on Oct. 30), former South Carolina Stingrays right wing Andrew Gordon (Washington on Dec. 23), former Augusta Lynx and Mississippi Sea Wolves goaltender Riku Helenius (Tampa Bay on Jan. 30), former Charlotte Checkers center Dwight Helminen (Carolina on Oct. 28), former Florida Everblades and ECHL All-Star center Matt Hendricks (Colorado on Mar. 10), former Las Vegas Wranglers goaltender Brent Krahn (Dallas on Feb. 14), former Trenton Devils right wing Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (New Jersey on Oct. 22), former Gwinnett Gladiators defenseman Scott Lehman (Atlanta on Dec. 18), former Johnstown Chiefs defenseman Raymond Macias (Colorado on Apr. 1), former Utah Grizzlies defenseman Andrew MacDonald (New York Islanders on Feb. 28), former Charlotte Checkers defenseman Steve MacIntyre (Edmonton on Oct. 15), former Florida Everblades left wing Kenndal McArdle (Florida on Dec. 2), two-time All-Star and former Las Vegas Wranglers goaltender Mike McKenna (Tampa Bay on Feb. 3), former All-Star and Wheeling Nailers center Kurtis McLean (New York Islanders on Jan. 19), former Charlotte Checkers goaltender Al Montoya (Phoenix on Apr. 1), former South Carolina Stingrays and ECHL All-Star goaltender Michal Neuvirth (Washington on Feb. 14), former Johnstown Chiefs defenseman Wes O’Neill (Colorado on Mar. 27), former Columbia Inferno defenseman Phil Oreskovic (Toronto on Mar. 9), former Phoenix RoadRunners and Wheeling Nailers center Cam Paddock (St. Louis on Nov. 14), former Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Adam Pardy (Calgary on Oct. 9), former Idaho Steelheads left wing Warren Peters (Calgary on Dec. 7), former Charlotte Checkers center Jakub Petruzalek (Carolina on Feb. 5), former Charlotte Checkers defenseman Corey Potter (New York Rangers on Dec. 7), former Augusta Lynx defenseman Kevin Quick (Tampa Bay on Jan. 13), former Utah Grizzlies right wing Joel Rechlicz (New York Islanders on Mar. 4), former Charlotte Checkers, Columbia Inferno and Elmira Jackals defenseman Bryan Rodney (Carolina on Dec. 11), former Gwinnett Gladiators center Jared Ross (Philadelphia on Oct. 11), former Alaska Aces goaltender Marek Schwarz (St. Louis on Oct. 25), former Greenville Grrrowl and Stockton Thunder center Tim Sestito (Edmonton on Nov. 26), former Dayton Bombers and Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Tyler Sloan (Washington on Oct. 21), former Utah Grizzlies and ECHL All-Star center Trevor Smith (New York Islanders on Dec. 31), former Johnstown Chiefs and Mississippi Sea Wolves forward Radek Smolenak (Tampa Bay on Dec. 2), former Augusta Lynx defenseman Brett Skinner (New York Islanders on Oct. 27), former Las Vegas Wranglers and ECHL All-Star defenseman Tyson Strachan (St. Louis on Dec. 18), former Phoenix RoadRunners goaltender Josh Tordjman (Phoenix on Mar. 8), former Wheeling Nailers right wing Tim Wallace (Pittsburgh on Dec. 10) and former Idaho Steelheads center Tom Wandell (Dallas on Dec. 10).
* Seven players have played in the ECHL and the NHL in 2008-09: goaltenders Riku Helenius (Mississippi and Tampa Bay), Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina and Washington) and Marek Schwarz (Alaska and St. Louis), defensemen Raymond Macias (Johnstown and Colorado), Wes O’Neill and Kevin Quick (Augusta and Tampa Bay) and right wing Joel Rechlicz (Utah and New York Islanders).
* There were 72 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters.
* Twenty-six former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2007-08 including six who played in both the ECHL and the NHL: Chris Beckford-Tseu (Alaska and St. Louis), Adam Berti (Pensacola and Chicago), Joe Jensen (Wheeling and Carolina), Dan LaCosta (Elmira and Columbus), Jonathan Quick (Reading and Los Angeles) and Danny Taylor (Reading and Los Angeles).
* Record 47 former ECHL players played their first NHL game in 2005-06.
* 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.
* Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders while former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is the interim head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. 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. Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.
* There are 18 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
* 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.
* ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 19 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
* In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
* Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.