PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL has 53 former players and 18 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It is 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.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 12 Stanley Cup champions and there are 28 ECHL alums who have their name engraved on the Stanley Cup: assistant coach Jamie Kompon, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles – 2012); assistant coach Geoff Ward, Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder and Tim Thomas (Boston – 2011); assistant coach Mike Haviland, associate coach John Torchetti, vice president Al MacIsaac and general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard (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). Fedotenko and Pratt are the only former ECHL players to have their name engraved twice on the Stanley Cup.
It is the ninth straight year that the ECHL has been represented by at least six coaches, and the sixth straight year that there have been at least 13 coaches with ECHL ties in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, who played in the ECHL with Greensboro in 1993-94 and in 2009 led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship and Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau, who coached Mississippi to the Kelly Cup title in 1999 and became the first ECHL coach to win the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 with Washington. Other former ECHL coaches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs include former Knoxville and Pee Dee head coach Jack Capuano, who has led the New York Islanders to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007; former Arkansas head coach Geoff Ward, who was part of Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship team; Toronto assistant coach Scott Gordon, who was the first ECHL player to reach the NHL with Quebec in 1990 and Los Angeles assistant coach Davis Payne, who led Alaska to the Kelly Cup title in 2006.
Twenty-two ECHL players have made their NHL debuts this season: former Trenton Titans right wing Jason Akeson (Philadelphia on April 27), 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 Cincinnati Cyclones left wing Kevin Henderson (Nashville on April 19), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Carter Hutton (Chicago on April 27), former Trenton Titans defenseman Matt Konan (Philadelphia on April 25), 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 Florida Everblades right wing Jared Staal (Carolina on April 25), 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 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. The 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.
There have been 512 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL. The ECHL has had 320 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 256 ECHL players who have played their first game in the last eight seasons for an average of 32 per year.
The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender and current Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach 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 are 30 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach 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 eighth 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. Bylsma, who played in the ECHL with Greensboro from 1992-94, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2010-11.
There are 26 former ECHL officials 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.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League 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.
Former ECHL coaches and players in Stanley Cup Playoffs (ECHL affiliate in parentheses):
Anaheim Ducks (Fort Wayne Komets) – Head coach Bruce Boudreau (Mississippi, 1996-99), assistant coach Bob Woods (Johnstown, 1990-94; Hampton Roads, 1995-96; Mobile, 1996-97; Tallahassee, 1997-98 and Mississippi, 1998-05), Francois Beauchemin (Mississippi, 2001-02), David Steckel (Reading, 2004-05) and Daniel Winnik (Phoenix, 2006-07)
Boston Bruins (South Carolina Stingrays) – Assistant coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-00), Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09) and Rich Peverley (South Carolina, 2004-05 and Reading, 2005-06)
Chicago Blackhawks (Toledo Walleye) – Assistant coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91), Sheldon Brookbank (Mississippi, 2001-02), Daniel Carcillo (Wheeling, 2005-06)
Detroit Red Wings (Toledo Walleye) – Brian Lashoff (Toledo, 2010-11)
Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-00; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2004-07), Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13), Dwight King (Ontario, 2009-10), Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13), Jordan Nolan (Ontario, 2009-10) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)
Minnesota Wild (Orlando Solar Bears) – Zenon Konopka (Wheeling, 2002-03 and Idaho, 2003-04), Darcy Kuemper (Ontario, 2011-12 and Orlando, 2012-13), Torrey Mitchell (San Francisco (2012-13) and Devin Setoguchi (Ontario, 2012-13)
Montreal Canadiens (Wheeling Nailers) – Assistant coach J.J. Daigneault (Phoenix (2005-06), Francis Bouillon (Wheeling, 1996-97), David Desharnais (Cincinnati, 2007-08) and Michael Ryder (Tallahassee, 2000-01 and Mississippi, 2001-02)
New York Islanders – Head coach Jack Capuano (Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-05), assistant coach Brent Thompson (Alaska, 2009-11), goaltending coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06), Keith Aucoin (Florida, 2001-02), Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05), Joe Finley (South Carolina, 2009-11), Andrew MacDonald (Utah, 2007-08), Colin McDonald (Stockton, 2008-09) and Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-00)
New York Rangers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92), Martin Biron (South Carolina, 1997-98), Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06), Micheal Haley (South Carolina, 2006-07 and Utah, 2007-08) and Kris Newbury (Pensacola, 2004-05)
Ottawa Senators (Elmira Jackals) – Assistant coach Mark Reeds (Peoria, 1996-99), Cory Conacher (Cincinnati, 2010-11), Mike Hoffman (Elmira, 2010-11), Matt Kassian (Texas, 2007-08) and Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-00)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Head coach Dan Bylsma (Greensboro, 1992-94), assistant coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-95 and Jacksonville, 1995-96), Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07) and Tomas Vokoun (Wheeling, 1995-96)
San Jose Sharks (San Francisco Bulls) – Goalie coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92), assistant coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson, 1999-00), Andrew Desjardins (Phoenix, 2008-09), Scott Gomez (Alaska, 2004-05 and 2012-13), Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07), Bracken Kearns (Toledo, 2005-06 and Reading, 2007-08)
Toronto Maple Leafs – assistant coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown, 1988-89; Nashville, 1992-93; Knoxville, 1993-94 and Roanoke, 1998-00), assistant coach Dave Farrish (Louisiana, 2000-04 and Pensacola, 2004-05), Ryan O’Byrne (Florida, 2012-13), James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09) and Ben Scrivens (Reading, 2010-11)
Vancouver Canucks (Kalamazoo Wings) – Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05) and Steve Pinizzotto (South Carolina, 2007-09)
Washington Capitals (Reading Royals) – Associate goaltending coach Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92), Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07), Matt Hendricks (Florida, 2004-05), Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10), Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina, 2008-09) and Steve Oleksy (Las Vegas, 2008-09; Toledo, 2009-10 and Idaho, 2009-12)
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• 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 2011-12.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• In the last eight 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.