SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League announced that former Toledo Storm and current Grand Rapids Griffins center Matt Ellis has been named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 18.
Ellis scored six points (4g-2a) in three games and leads Grand Rapids with 20 goals and is second on the team with eight power-play goals and 40 points in 50 games. He had his first AHL hat trick in a 5-2 win against San Antonio on Feb. 16 and scored the game-winning goal in a 4-2 win against San Antonio on Feb. 17.
In his first professional season in 2002-03, the 25-year-old led Toledo with 27 goals and was second on the team with 59 points (27g-32a) in 71 regular season games and tied for the team lead in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with eight points (3g-5a) and a plus-minus rating of +9 in seven games.
Ellis is the eighth 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) and Dan LaCosta (Feb. 5).
Other nominees for the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week award were former Charlotte and current Albany left wing Antti Laaksonen, former Columbia and current Bridgeport left wing Brandon Nolan, former South Carolina and current Hershey center Joey Tenute, former Toledo and current Manitoba goaltender Drew MacIntyre and former Hampton Roads and current Peoria center Trent Whitfield.
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 Montreal in the NHL, won for November when he was playing for Hamilton.
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 321 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 176 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 97 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 18 ECHL players who have played their first NHL game this season: former Greenville and Richmond right wing Krys Barch (Dallas on Jan. 15), former Mississippi defenseman Sheldon Brookbank (Nashville on Feb. 6), former Reading goaltender Barry Brust (Los Angeles on Nov. 30), former Toledo center Matt Ellis (Detroit on Dec. 18), former Wheeling defenseman Drew Fata (New York Islanders on Feb. 4), former Bakersfield and Reading goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji (Los Angeles on Jan. 13), former Charlotte defenseman Daniel Girardi (New York Rangers on Jan. 27), former Long Beach goaltender Jaroslav Halak (Montreal on Feb. 18), former Trenton goaltender Martin Houle (Philadelphia on Dec. 13), former Alaska left wing D.J. King (St. Louis on Oct. 5), former Florida center Drew Larman (Florida on Nov. 13), former Florida defenseman Martin Lojek (Florida on Feb. 3), former Toledo goaltender Joey MacDonald (Detroit on Oct. 19), former Pensacola center Kris Newbury (Toronto on Dec. 23), former Augusta right wing Pierre Parenteau (Chicago on Feb. 7), former Columbia right wing Jesse Schultz (Vancouver on Nov. 28), former ECHL All-Star goaltender Mike Smith (Dallas on Oct. 21) and former Augusta goaltender 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.