ECHL Represented On Stanley Cup
Champion For Ninth Straight Year

PRINCETON, N.J. – For the ninth consecutive year the ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup Champion with Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, player Ruslan Fedotenko, equipment managers Dana Heinze and Dave Zeigler, athletic trainers Chris Stewart and Scott Adams and scout Derek Clancey.

Chris Minard, who helped Alaska capture the Kelly Cup in 2005-06, was a member of the Pittsburgh practice squad in the postseason and participated in the postgame celebration.

The Wheeling Nailers are the ECHL affiliate of the Penguins. The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League has affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 12th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams. Seventy-two former ECHL players were on NHL opening-day rosters and 333 ECHL players attended 2008 NHL training camps, including 139 who played in the league in 2007-08.

Fedotenko becomes the second former ECHL player to have his name engraved twice having helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win in 2004. Nolan Pratt had his name engraved in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche and in 2004 with Tampa Bay. It is also the second time to be a member of a Stanley Cup winner for Heinze, who was with Tampa Bay in 2004, and Stewart, who was with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. Heinze, Stewart, Adams and Ziegler all worked for the Johnstown Chiefs.

Bylsma is the first former ECHL player to win the Stanley Cup as a coach having played for the Greensboro Monarchs in 1993-94. Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with Wheeling in 1996-97, was the first former ECHL coach to win the Stanley Cup as a head coach with Carolina in 2006. Dave Farrish, who coached five seasons in the ECHL, was an assistant coach for Anaheim when the Ducks won in 2007.

In addition to Bylsma, Fedotenko and Pratt there are 11 former ECHL players who have been on the Stanley Cup winner: David Aebischer (Colorado in 2001), Francois Beauchemin (Anaheim in 2007), Kevin Dean (New Jersey in 1995), Aaron Downey (Detroit in 2008), Andrew Hutchinson (Carolina in 2006), Chad LaRose (Carolina in 2006), Manny Legace (Detroit in 2002), Krzysztof Oliwa (New Jersey in 2000), George Parros (Anaheim in 2007), Andre Roy (Tampa Bay in 2004) and Corey Schwab (New Jersey in 2003).

The ECHL was represented in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by 43 former players and 14 former coaches on 15 of the 16 teams. It was the fourth year in a row that there were at least 30 former ECHL players and the sixth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience competed in the NHL postseason. It marked the fifth straight year that the ECHL has been represented by at least six coaches. Seven former ECHL referees and three former ECHL linesmen worked the Stanley Cup Playoffs and eight other former ECHL officials worked in the NHL during the regular season.

There have been 407 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 52 in 2008-09. Fourteen former ECHL players signed contracts totaling more than $60 million last summer while Alexandre Burrows, who played in the ECHL his first three seasons, signed a four-year extension with Vancouver reportedly worth $8 million.

There were eight players who played in the ECHL and the NHL in 2008-09 with goaltenders Matt Climie (Idaho and Dallas), Riku Helenius (Elmira, Mississippi and Tampa Bay), Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina and Washington) and Marek Schwarz (Alaska and St. Louis), defensemen Wes O’Neill (Johnstown and Colorado), Raymond Macias (Johnstown and Colorado) and Kevin Quick (Augusta, Elmira and Tampa Bay) and right wing Joel Rechlicz (Utah and New York Islanders).

The ECHL has had 215 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 96 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years. There have been 151 ECHL players who have played their first game in the last four seasons for an average of more than 37 per year.

The ECHL was represented in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game by Mark Streit of the New York Islanders and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins while former ECHL players Dan Ellis, Jonathan Quick and Tomas Vokoun have all been selected as recipients of the NHL’s “Three Stars” award this season.

The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender and current New York Islanders head coach Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990.

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, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Rob Simpson, who is a producer/host for The NHL Network.

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 and Kelly Murray are now with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals, respectively, while former ECHL director of communications Jason Rothwell is the creative director for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 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 20 teams in 15 states and British Columbia in 2009-10.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,500 call-ups involving more than 1,300 players since 2002-03.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.