PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Dayton Bomber left wing Riley Cote made his National Hockey League debut with the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday and had four penalty minutes and a plus-minus rating of +1 in a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders.
The 25-year-old played for Dayton in his second professional season in 2003-04 and had 17 points (6g-11a) and 258 penalty minutes in 57 games with the Bombers while also playing in the American Hockey League with Syracuse where he had 19 penalty minutes in nine games.
The 6-foot-1 and 210-pound Cote, who signed as a free agent with Philadelphia on Aug. 23, 2005, is the sixth former ECHL player to play his first NHL game in March. He joins former Wheeling defenseman David Koci (Chicago on Mar. 10), former Stockton defenseman Bryan Young (Edmonton on Mar. 9), former Reading and South Carolina center Rich Peverley (Nashville on Mar. 4), former Wheeling left wing Daniel Carcillo (Phoenix on Mar. 3) and former Reading left wing Shay Stephenson (Los Angeles on Mar. 1).
There have been 25 former ECHL players who have played their first NHL game this season, including 15 since January, and all 30 teams in the NHL have had an ECHL player take the ice. There have been 328 players who have played in the NHL after the ECHL and 183 who have made their debut in the last five seasons. There were a record 47 former ECHL players who played their first NHL game in 2005-06 and 112 former ECHL players who played in the NHL a year ago, including five goaltenders who played in both the ECHL and the NHL.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07, marking the 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 25 ECHL players who have played their first NHL game this season: former Greenville and Richmond right wing Krys Barch (Dallas on Jan. 15), former Mississippi defenseman Sheldon Brookbank (Nashville on Feb. 6), former Reading goaltender Barry Brust (Los Angeles on Nov. 30), former Wheeling left wing Daniel Carcillo (Phoenix on Mar. 3), former Dayton left wing Riley Cote (Philadelphia on Mar. 24), former Toledo center Matt Ellis (Detroit on Dec. 18), former Wheeling defenseman Drew Fata (New York Islanders on Feb. 4), former Reading defenseman Jeff Finger (Colorado on Feb. 20), former Bakersfield and Reading goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji (Los Angeles on Jan. 13), former Charlotte defenseman Daniel Girardi (New York Rangers on Jan. 27), former Long Beach goaltender Jaroslav Halak (Montreal on Feb. 18), former Trenton goaltender Martin Houle (Philadelphia on Dec. 13), former Alaska left wing D.J. King (St. Louis on Oct. 5), former Wheeling defenseman David Koci (Chicago on Mar. 10), former Florida center Drew Larman (Florida on Nov. 13), former Florida defenseman Martin Lojek (Florida on Feb. 3), former Toledo goaltender Joey MacDonald (Detroit on Oct. 19), former Pensacola center Kris Newbury (Toronto on Dec. 23), former South Carolina and Reading center Rich Peverley (Nashville on Mar. 4), former Augusta right wing Pierre Parenteau (Chicago on Feb. 7), former Columbia right wing Jesse Schultz (Vancouver on Nov. 28), former ECHL All-Star goaltender Mike Smith (Dallas on Oct. 21), former Reading left wing Shay Stephenson (Los Angeles on Mar. 1), former Augusta goaltender Mike Wall (Anaheim on Nov. 26) and former Stockton defenseman Bryan Young (Edmonton on Mar. 9).
There are two NHL head coaches (Peter Laviolette and Jim Playfair) and nine NHL assistant coaches who have an ECHL background. The ECHL was represented for the sixth consecutive year on the Stanley Cup champion in 2006 by Laviolette, who is the first ECHL coach to hoist the coveted trophy, Chad LaRose, Andrew Hutchinson and assistant athletic trainer Chris Stewart.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion. 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.
In 2005-06 the ECHL and its member teams contributed more than $2.3 million for charity and relief funds, including those benefiting victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while also making thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions.
* Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.