The ECHL has 72 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, marking the 13th season in a row with more than 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has former players on 29 of the 30 teams and has affiliations with 28 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There are 23 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano and Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette. It is the 10th 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.
There are 27 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2014-15 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.
There have been 541 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 29 in 2012-13. The ECHL has had 349 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 285 ECHL players have played their first game in the last nine seasons for an average of more than 31 per year.
There were seven players have played in the ECHL and NHL in 2013-14: John Curry with Orlando and Minnesota, Kristers Gudlevksis with Florida and Tampa Bay, Magnus Hellberg with Cincinnati and Nashville, Michael Hutchinson with Ontario and Winnipeg, Connor Knapp with Greenville, Florida, Alaska and Buffalo, Joni Ortio with Alaska and Calgary and Patrick Wey with Reading and Washington.
The ECHL was represented for the 14th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2014 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Davis Payne, players Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Martin Jones, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick; manager of communications and broadcasting Jeremy Zager; and scouts Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti.. There were 49 former players and 19 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the ninth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 11th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
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.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Josh Bogorad of the Dallas Stars, 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, who was a recipient of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, works in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild while former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Former ECHL coaches and players on NHL Opening-Day Rosters (ECHL affiliate listed in parentheses):
(IR) – Injured Reserve
Arizona Coyotes (Gwinnett Gladiators) – Associate coach Jim Playfair (Dayton, 1993-96); B.J. Crombeen (Idaho, 2005-07 and Orlando, 2012-13); Devan Dubnyk (Stockton, 2006-07); Justin Hodgman (Toledo, 2009-10 and Reading, 2010-11) and Mike Smith (Lexington, 2002-03)
Boston Bruins (South Carolina Stingrays) – Bobby Robins (Elmira, 2007-08; Bakersfield, 2010-11 and Chicago, 2011-12)
Buffalo Sabres (Elmira Jackals) – Goaltending coach Arturs Irbe (Johnstown, 2003-04); Torrey Mitchell (San Francisco, 2012-13); Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina, 2008-09) and Tyson Strachan (Las Vegas, 2007-08)
Carolina Hurricanes (Florida Everblades) – Patrick Dwyer (Gwinnett, 2004-05) and Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09)
Chicago Blackhawks (Indy Fuel) – Daniel Carcillo (Wheeling, 2005-06)
Colorado Avalanche (Fort Wayne Komets) – Cody McLeod (San Diego, 2005-06)
Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Goaltending coach Mike Valley (Augusta, 1998-2000; Louisiana, 1999-2001; Wheeling, 2002-03 and Peoria, 2003-04); Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2008-09); Vern Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02); Ryan Garbutt (Gwinnett, 2010-11) and Antoine Roussel (Reading, 2010-11)
Edmonton Oilers (Bakersfield Condors) – Goaltending coach Frederic Chabot Winston-Salem, 1991-92); Will Acton (Reading, 2010-11); Mark Arcobello (Stockton, 2010-11); Matt Hendricks (Florida, 2004-05) and Ben Scrivens (Reading, 2010-11)
Florida Panthers (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Video coach Jason Cipolla (South Carolina, 1995-98) and Al Montoya (Charlotte, 2005-06)
Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-2000; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2003-07); Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13); Martin Jones (Ontario, 2010-11); Dwight King (Ontario, 2009-10); Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13); Jordan Nolan (Ontario, 2009-10) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)
Nashville Predators (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Head coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98); Victor Bartley (Utah, 2009-10); Rich Clune (Idaho, 2007-08) and Carter Hutton (Toledo, 2011-12)
New Jersey Devils – Michael Ryder (Tallahassee, 2000-01 and Mississippi, 2001-02)
New York Islanders (Stockton Thunder) – Head coach Jack Capuano (Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-2005); Goaltending coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06); Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05); Cory Conacher (Cincinnati, 2010-11); Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06) and Colin McDonald (Stockton, 2008-09)
New York Rangers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92); Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06) and Cam Talbot (Greenville, 2010-11)
Ottawa Senators (Evansville IceMen) – Assistant coach Mark Reeds (Peoria, 1996-99); Mike Hoffman (Elmira, 2010-11) and Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-00)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Goalie development coach Mike Buckley (Mississippi, 2002-04 and Gwinnett, 2003-04) and Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07)
St. Louis Blues (Alaska Aces) – Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Orlando Solar Bears) – Assistant coach Peter Horachek (Nashville, 1990-91 and Trenton, 2001-02); Assistant coach Steve Spott (Richmond, 1990-91); Troy Bodie (Stockton, 2006-07); James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09) and Daniel Winnik (Phoenix, 2006-07)
Vancouver Canucks (Kalamazoo Wings) – Assistant coach Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas, 2003-08) and Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05)
Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Assistant coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-96 and Jacksonville, 1995-96); Jay Beagle (IR) (Idaho, 2006-07); Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10) and Justin Peters (Florida, 2006-08)
Winnipeg Jets (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1997-98); Assistant coach Pascal Vincent (Knoxville, 1992-93); Goaltending coach Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90); Michael Hutchinson (Reading, 2010-12 and Ontario, 2013-14); Adam Pardy (Las Vegas, 2005-06); Anthony Peluso (Alaska, 2009-10) and Mark Stuart (Florida, 2012-13)
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 21 teams in 14 states for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 541 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 29 who made their NHL debuts in the 2013-14 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 28 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th 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 Facebook and Twitter.