The ECHL has 40 former players and 15 coaches on 15 of the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It is the 11th year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 13th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 15 Stanley Cup champions and there are 39 ECHL alums who have their name engraved on the Stanley Cup: Vice President of Hockey Operations Al MacIsaac, General Manager of Minor League Affiliations Mark Bernard, Director of Pro Scouting Ryan Stewart, players Scott Darling and Andrew Desjardins and pro scout Derek Booth (Chicago – 2015); assistant coach Davis Payne; players Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Martin Jones, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles – 2014) 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 (Chicago – 2013); Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles – 2012); assistant coach Geoff Ward, Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder and Tim Thomas (Boston – 2011); vice president Al MacIsaac, assistant coach Mike Haviland, associate coach John Torchetti and director of pro scouting Ryan Stewart (Chicago – 2010); head coach Dan Bylsma and Ruslan Fedotenko (Pittsburgh – 2009); Aaron Downey (Detroit – 2008); assistant coach Dave Farrish, Francois Beauchemin and George Parros (Anaheim – 2007); head coach Peter Laviolette, Andrew Hutchinson and Chad LaRose (Carolina – 2006); Ruslan Fedotenko, Nolan Pratt and Andre Roy (Tampa Bay – 2004); Corey Schwab (New Jersey – 2003); Manny Legace (Detroit – 2002); David Aebischer and Nolan Pratt (Colorado – 2001); Krzysztof Oliwa (New Jersey – 2000) and Kevin Dean (New Jersey – 1995).
It is the 12th straight year that the ECHL has been represented by at least six coaches.
There have been 599 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 30 who made their debut in 2015-16. The ECHL has had 407 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. There have been 333 ECHL players who have played their first game in the last 11 seasons for an average of more than 31 per year.
Five players have played in the ECHL and NHL in 2015-16: Ben Harpur with Evansville and Ottawa, Ross Johnston with Missouri and the New York Islanders, Mackenzie Skapski with Greenville and the New York Rangers, Garret Sparks with Orlando and Toronto and Scott Wedgewood with Adirondack and New Jersey.
The ECHL had 74 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2015-16 marking the 13th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2015-16, marking the 19th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990. The 100th player honor is shared by Jean Sebastien Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006. The 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs while the 500th player honor is shared by Anthony Peluso and Darcy Kuemper, who both made their debut on Feb. 12, 2013 with the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, respectively.
There were 31 coaches with an ECHL background who worked behind the benches of NHL teams in 2015-16 including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma, Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano and Minnesota Wild interim head coach John Torchetti. It is the 10th consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL.
There are 28 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2015-16 with referees Jake Brenk, 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, Brandon Gawryletz, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Doug Plagens of the Florida Panthers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Former ECHL player Jody Shelley is an analyst with the Blue Jackets.
Former ECHL coaches and players in Stanley Cup Playoffs (ECHL affiliate in parentheses):
Florida Panthers – Goaltending coach Rob Tallas (Charlotte, 1994-95); Al Montoya (Charlotte, 2005-06) and Garrett Wilson (Cincinnati, 2012-13)
Los Angeles Kings (Manchester Monarchs) – Assistant coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-2000; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2003-07); developmental goaltending coach Dusty Imoo (Dayton, 1991-92; Erie, 1991-92 and Cincinnati, 1991-92); Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13); Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13); Jordan Nolan (Ontario, 2009-10); Dwight King (Ontario, 2009-10) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)
Minnesota Wild (Quad City Mallards) – Interim head coach John Torchetti (Carolina, 1988-89; Winston-Salem, 1989-91 and Greensboro, 1993-95); Devan Dubnyk (Stockton, 2006-07) and Darcy Kuemper (Ontario, 2011-12 and Orlando, 2012-13)
New York Islanders (Missouri Mavericks) – Head coach Jack Capuano (Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-05); goaltending coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06); Jean-Francois Berube (Ontario, 2011-13); Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05); Christopher Gibson (Orlando, 2013-14); Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06) and Alan Quine (Stockton, 2013-14)
New York Rangers (Greenville Swamp Rabbits) – Video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92) and Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06)
St. Louis Blues – Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13)
San Jose Sharks (Allen Americans) – Assistant coach Bob Boughner (Toledo, 1991-92); assistant coach Steve Spott (Richmond, 1990-91); assistant coach/goaltending coach Johan Hedberg (Baton Rouge, 1997-98); Micheal Haley (South Carolina, 2006-07 and Utah, 2007-08); Martin Jones (Ontario, 2010-11) and James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09)
Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Assistant coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-96 and Jacksonville, 1995-96); professional development coach Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92); Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07); Stanislav Galiev (Reading, 2012-14); Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13); Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10) and Daniel Winnik (Phoenix, 2006-07)
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 28th season in 2015-16. There have been 599 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 30 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2015-16 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2015-16, marking the 19th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.