PEORIA, Ill. – The St. Louis Blues have announced that former Peoria coach Don Granato has been awarded a contact extension with Worcester of the American Hockey League. In one season with Peoria, Granato was 45-20-5 and won the Kelly Cup Championship.
In his first season in 2000-01, Granato led Worcester to a team-record 48 wins and its first regular-season title, and he was named AHL Coach of the Year. The 36-year-old Granato is the IceCats’ all-time leader in wins with a 159-117-44 record, and he has led Worcester to the postseason in each of his four seasons.
Prior to joining Peoria, Granato was head coach and general manager of the Columbus (Ohio) Chill from 1997-99.
For the 15th consecutive season in 2003-04, an ECHL player was a member of the AHL’s Calder Cup Champion. In addition to rookie coach Claude Noel, Milwaukee had eight players and radio announcer Kyle Schultz, who are all alumni of the ECHL. Noel, who was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2002-03, was named outstanding coach of the AHL in 2003-04 becoming the fourth ECHL coach in a row and the fifth ever to win the AHL coaching honor.
There were former ECHL coaches behind the benches of 14 of the 28 teams in the AHL and all 28 teams had an ECHL player take the ice for them in 2003-04. The ECHL had affiliation agreements with 21 of the 28 teams in the AHL and there were over 90 players on AHL contracts in the ECHL in 2003-04. There were more than 220 players that played in both the ECHL and the AHL and the ECHL had 425 call-ups, involving 234 players, to the AHL during the regular season.