Former Bomber LaCosta Wins AHL Weekly Award

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League announced that former Dayton Bombers and current Syracuse Crunch rookie goaltender Dan LaCosta has been named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 4.

LaCosta posted shutouts in both of his starts stopping 22 shots in a 5-0 win against Springfield on Feb. 2 and making 31 saves in a 6-0 victory over Rochester on Feb. 3. LaCosta, who helped Syracuse extend its winning streak to four games, has a scoreless streak of 155:32.

Selected in the third round (93rd overall) by Columbus in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and under NHL contract to the Blue Jackets, the 20-year-old is 3-2-1 with a goals-against average of 2.29 and a save percentage of .912 in 11 games with Syracuse and 2-4-1 record with a 3.62 goals against average and a .886 save percentage in seven games with Dayton.

LaCosta is the seventh former ECHL player to capture the award this season, joining former Roanoke and Wheeling and current Manitoba left wing Jason Jaffray (Oct. 30), former Wheeling and Idaho and current Portland center Zenon Konopka (Nov. 13), Former Alaska and Las Vegas and current Peoria left wing Charles Linglet (Dec. 4), former Jackson and current Chicago center Cory Larose (Dec. 18), former Jackson and current Hershey left wing Quintin Laing (Dec. 26) and former Charlotte and current Hartford goaltender Al Montoya (Jan. 2).

The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League and there are 86 players under contract to AHL teams who have played in the ECHL this season. For the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion and 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.

Former ECHL goaltenders have been named as the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month each of the last three months. Jason LaBarbera, who played for Charlotte and now plays for Manchester, won the award for January while Jonathan Boutin, an ECHL All-Star with Johnstown who now plays for Springfield, won in December, and Jaroslav Halak, who played for Long Beach and now plays for Hamilton, won for November.

ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07, marking 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

There have been 317 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06.

There have been 172 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 93 former ECHL players have skated in the NHL this season.

More than 100 players under contract to NHL teams have played in the ECHL this season.

There have been 14 former ECHL players who have made their NHL debut this season: Krys Barch (Dallas on Jan. 15), Barry Brust (Los Angeles on Nov. 30), Drew Fata (New York Islanders on Feb. 4), Yutaka Fukufuji (Los Angeles on Jan. 13), Daniel Girardi (New York Rangers on Jan. 27), Martin Houle (Philadelphia on Dec. 13), D.J. King (St. Louis on Oct. 5), Drew Larman (Florida on Nov. 13), Martin Lojek (Florida on Feb. 3), Joey MacDonald (Detroit on Oct. 19), Kris Newbury (Toronto on Dec. 23), Jesse Schultz (Vancouver on Nov. 28), former ECHL All-Star goaltender Mike Smith (Dallas on Oct. 21), and Mike Wall (Anaheim on Nov. 26).

The ECHL was represented for the sixth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team, including Carolina Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette, who is the first ECHL coach to win the Stanley Cup.

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.