PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Thursday announced its All-ECHL First Team for 2012-13 as determined in a vote of ECHL coaches, broadcasters, media relations directors and media, who were asked to select a goaltender, two defensemen and three forwards.
2012-13 All-ECHL First Team
G – Ryan Zapolski, South Carolina Stingrays (39 gp, 26-11-2, 1.66 GAA, .942 save pct.)
D – Matt Case, Idaho Steelheads (60 gp, 6g, 32a, 38 pts., +30)
D – Sacha Guimond, Gwinnett Gladiators (57 gp, 12g, 35a, 47 pts., -4)
F – Michael Forney, Colorado Eagles (69 gp, 34g, 40a, 74 pts., +8)
F – Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Gwinnett Gladiators (65 gp, 21g, 53a, 74 pts., +19)
F – Mathieu Roy, Florida Everblades (67 gp, 36g, 48a, 84 pts., +16)
The ECHL will announce the Community Service Award and Sportsmanship Award winners on Friday.
Ryan Zapolski of the South Carolina Stingrays is 26-11-2, and leads the ECHL with a 1.66 goals-against average, a .942 save percentage and eight shutouts. His eight shutouts are tied for the most in a single season in ECHL history. Zapolski, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team yesterday, has allowed two goals or less in 33 of his 39 appearances this season. The 26-year-old was named Most Valuable Player of the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game, and was selected as the ECHL Goaltender of the Month for December and February.
Matt Case of the Idaho Steelheads leads all defensemen, and is tied for the overall league lead in plus-minus at +30, is tied for second among defensemen with 38 points and is third among blue-liners with 32 assists. His 14 power-play assists are tied for fourth among defensemen. Case also has seen action in five games with Manchester of the American Hockey League.
Sacha Guimond of the Gwinnett Gladiators, who was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team yesterday, leads all ECHL defensemen with 47 points, is tied for first with 35 assists and is fourth with 12 goals. He is first among blue-liners with nine power-play goals and 29 power-play points while his 20 power-play assists are tied for first among defensemen. Guimond has also appeared in six American Hockey League games with Worcester and Norfolk.
Michael Forney of the Colorado Eagles leads his club with 34 goals, which is fourth in the ECHL, and 74 points, which is tied for second in the league. He is second in the league with 15 power-play goals and is fifth with 247 shots on goal.
Casey Pierro-Zabotel of the Gwinnett Gladiators is second in the league with 53 assists and is tied for second with 74 points. Named a starter for the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game, Pierro-Zabotel notched two assists in the ECHL All-Stars 7-3 win against Colorado. He has added two points (1g-1a) in five games with Charlotte of the American Hockey League.
Mathieu Roy of the Florida Everblades leads the ECHL with 84 points, is tied for first with 36 goals and tied for fifth with 48 assists. His 20 power-play assists are tied for fifth and he is just one of eight players in the league to record multiple hat tricks this season. Roy was named ECHL Player of the Month for February, and he has also played in three games with Lake Erie of the American Hockey League.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
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• The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 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 23 teams in 16 states in 2012-13.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• 507 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.
• 17 ECHL players have made their NHL debuts this season: former Gwinnett Gladiators forward Matt Anderson (New Jersey on Jan. 29), former Stockton Thunder center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Mark Arcobello (Edmonton on Feb. 6), former Utah Grizzlies defenseman and 2010 ECHL All-Star Victor Bartley (Nashville on March 8), former Charlotte Checkers, Wheeling Nailers, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Florida Everblades and Augsuta Lynx left wing Patrick Bordeleau (Colorado on Jan. 19), former Cincinnati Cyclones forward Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay on Jan. 19), former Trenton Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee (New Jersey on March 9), former South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals goaltender and 2013 ECHL All-Star Philipp Grubauer (Washington on Feb. 27), former Ontario Reign and Orlando Solar Bears goaltender Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota on Feb. 12), former Toledo Walleye defenseman Brian Lashoff (Detroit on Jan. 21), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Petr Mrazek (Detroit on Feb. 7), former Las Vegas Wranglers, Toledo Walleye and Idaho Steelheads defenseman Steve Oleksy (Washington on March 5), former Alaska Aces right wing Anthony Peluso (Winnipeg on Feb. 12), former South Carolina Stingrays center Steve Pinizzotto (Vancouver on March 14), former Ontario Reign right wing Jon Rheault (Florida on March 5), former Reading Royals left wing Antoine Roussel (Dallas on Feb. 1), former Wheeling Nailers center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Ben Street (Calgary on Feb. 9) and former Toledo Storm right wing and 2007 ECHL All-Star Jamie Tardif (Boston on Feb. 2).
• The ECHL has had 315 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.
• 251 ECHL players have played their first game in the last eight seasons for an average of more than 31 per year.
• ECHL had a record 87 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2012-13, surpassing the 81 from 2011-12 and marking the 10th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th 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 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.
• 26 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the 12th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. Quick was named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the second consecutive year a former ECHL player won the award.. There were 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the seventh year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• 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 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 works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,281 fans per game in 2011-12, marking the eighth consecutive season and the 20th time in the last 22 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.