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Annual On-Ice Officials Training Camp opens tomorrow


The ECHL announced on Thursday its annual On-Ice Officials Training Camp will be held Friday through Sunday in Toledo, Ohio at the Huntington Center and Park Inn Hotel.

The preseason camp will include returning members of the officiating staff, newly-hired referees and linesmen and the ECHL supervisory staff.

“The ECHL Officiating Department is pleased with the dedication of our Officials whose preseason preparation and training will carry them into the regular season and through the Kelly Cup Finals,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “We have NHL prospects that are joining and returning to the ECHL Officiating Staff as well as a very good core group of veteran officials that have been around for a few years.”

The ECHL Officiating Department is managed by Vice President of Hockey Operations, Joe Ernst. In addition to the on-ice officials the staff includes: Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly, and Supervisors Jim Doyle, Mike McDevitt, Jerry Pateman, Mike Pearce and Jason Rollins.

“The Supervisory staff that we have at the ECHL is second to only the NHL,” Ernst said. “The dedication and the pride these gentlemen take in helping develop these officials throughout the season is a credit to each one of them.

“The officials working in the ECHL receive coaching that is designed to get them to the next level of hockey as well as the level of play that we have each night in the ECHL. It is evidenced by the number of officials who have moved up to the NHL. Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, T.J. Luxmore, Matt MacPherson, Jon McIsaac and Graham Skilliter all have been hired by the NHL over the last six season, as well as numerous referees and linesman that have been hired to work full-time in the AHL.”

The officials at the training camp will participate in fitness testing, on-ice instruction, rules tests, team building exercises and video sessions as well as receive a thorough review of the ECHL Rule Book and League directives with an emphasis on Rule Enforcement Standards.

Dan McCourt, Minor League Supervisor for the NHL, Mike Murray, Vice President of Hockey Operations for the American Hockey League and Toby Oothoudt, Off-Ice Crew Chief for the Toledo Walleye, will address the officials.

Training camp will include officials and League staff dinner on Saturday night at The Blarney Restaurant located in downtown Toledo.

The ECHL would like to thank the Toledo Walleye Organization; Julie Bolfa of Destination Toledo; Ed Beczynski of The Blarney; Steve Miller, Scott Fuernstein, Amanda Caig, Mike McCall and Jesus Rivera of the Huntington Center and Tobias Bird and the staff at the Park Inn for making this all possible with their efforts.

There are 27 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, 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.

Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts

• Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.

• The ECHL celebrated 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 22 teams in 15 states in 2013-14.

• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

514 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 22 in 2012-13.

• Two ECHL players have made their NHL debuts in 2013-14: former Reading Royals forward Will Acton (Edmonton on Oct. 1) and former Idaho Steelheads left wing Luke Gazdic (Edmonton on Oct. 1).

• The ECHL has had 322 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.

• 258 ECHL players have played their first game in the last nine seasons for an average of more than 28 per year.

• ECHL had a record 93 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2013-14, surpassing the 87 from 2012-13 and marking the 11th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.

• ECHL has affiliations with 27 of the 30 NHL teams in 2013-14, marking the 17th consecutive season that the league has 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, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the ninth 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.

• 27 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2013-14 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, 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 13th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2013 with Chicago Blackhaws assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Sheldon Brookbank and Daniel Carcillo, vice president/assistant to the president Al MacIsaac, director of pro scouting Ryan Stewart and general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard. The ECHL was represented by 53 former players and 18 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the eighth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 10th 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.

• ECHL has affiliations with 27 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2013-14 and for the past 24 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.

• In the last nine seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined 4,000 with over  call-ups involving more than 2,100 players and in 2012-13 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.

• The ECHL averaged 4,695 fans per game in 2012-13, the highest single-season average since 1999-2000, and marking the ninth consecutive season and the 21st time in the last 23 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.

• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.