UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The New York Islanders of the National Hockey League have announced that former ECHL player and coach Scott Gordon has signed a multiple-year contract to be the team’s new head coach.
“Scott has been one of the top up-and-coming coaches in hockey and with good reason,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “Through his work in the minor leagues and most recently with Providence over the last eight years, he has gained an impeccable reputation. The entire Islanders organization looks forward to working with Scott.”
“Garth has given me an unbelievable opportunity to coach in the NHL with the Islanders,” said Gordon. “From my time coaching in Providence, I’ve seen firsthand the talented young players in this organization. I look at the direction and the vision for this team and see a bright future.”
The Utah Grizzlies are the ECHL affiliate of the Islanders of the NHL and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League. Former ECHL player Daniel Lacroix is an assistant coach for the Islanders. Former ECHL coach and executive Jack Capuano is head coach of Bridgeport while the assistant coaches are 2003-04 ECHL Coach of the Year and former ECHL player Pat Bingham and former Johnstown Chiefs assistant coach Matthew Bertani.
Gordon is the third former ECHL coach who is currently a head coach in the NHL joining Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Peter Laviolette of the Carolina Hurricanes. 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. Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006 and is 231-177-53 in six NHL seasons. There are 15 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
The 45 year old played for Johnstown in 1988-89 and on January 30, 1990 he became the first ECHL player to play in the National Hockey League when he made his debut with the Quebec Nordiques against the Buffalo Sabres. Gordon returned to the ECHL with Nashville in 1992-93 and Knoxville in 1993-94.
Gordon was named head coach of Roanoke in the ECHL in 1998-99. In his first season the Express finished first in the Northern Conference with a 38-22-10 record, advancing to the Kelly Cup Playoffs where they lost in the conference finals. In his second season Roanoke went 44-20-6 and set team records for wins (44) and points (94) while finishing atop the Northeast Division standings and again advancing to the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Gordon was named the AHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the third former ECHL coach in a row and the seventh in the last eight years to receive the honor. He led Providence to a first-place finish with a 55-18-3 record while ranking second in the league in goals scored and seventh in goals-against average. In five seasons as head coach he was 221-141-47 and led the Bruins to the postseason every year.
Gordon, who was a member of the United States team at the 1992 Olympics, joined Providence as an assistant coach in 2000 and became the head coach on Mar. 19, 2003 when Mike Sullivan was promoted to Boston.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League had affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams. There have been 355 players who have played in the NHL after the ECHL and 210 who have made their debut in the last seven seasons. Twenty-six former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2007-08 including six who played in both the ECHL and NHL: Chris Beckford-Tseu (Alaska and St. Louis), Adam Berti (Pensacola and Chicago), Joe Jensen (Wheeling and Carolina), Dan LaCosta (Elmira and Columbus), Jonathan Quick (Reading and Los Angeles) and Danny Taylor (Reading and Los Angeles).
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.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will play with 23 teams in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2007-08 and for the past 19 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,300 call ups involving more than 1,200 players. In each of the last three seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL in the same season.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.