PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Augusta Lynx left wing Greg Jacina made his National Hockey League debut with Florida in the Panthers 5-4 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday, becoming the 20th former ECHL player to play his first NHL game in 2005-06 and the 276th player to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.
Signed by the Panthers as a free agent in August, the 23-year-old began the season in the American Hockey League with Rochester and has three points (2g-1a) and 40 penalty minutes in eight games with the Americans.
In his first professional season in 2003-04, the 6-foot and 203-pound Jacina was selected to the ECHL All-Star Game after scoring a team-leading 10 assists and 16 points in 21 games for the Lynx. Jacina finished the season with 38 points (15g-23a) in 58 games for Augusta and also had four assists in 13 games with San Antonio of the AHL. Jacina played the entire 2004-05 season with San Antonio scoring 31 points (11g-20a) in 78 games.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and there is one head coach, 12 assistant coaches, 13 referees and five linesmen working in the NHL in 2005-06 who have ECHL experience.
There have been 20 players in 2005-06 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL: Evgeny Artukhin (Tampa Bay on October 20), Adam Berkhoel (Atlanta on October 15), Derek Boogaard (Minnesota on October 5), Kevin Colley (New York Islanders on October 27), Brian Eklund (Tampa Bay on November 8), Michael Garnett (Atlanta on October 12), Trevor Gillies (Anaheim on November 6), Steven Goertzen (Columbus on October 21), Jeff Giuliano (Los Angeles on November 5), Timo Helbling (Tampa Bay on October 5), Colin Hemingway (St. Louis on October 19), Raitis Ivanans (Montreal on October 8), Greg Jacina (Florida on November 12), Zenon Konopka (Anaheim on October 30), Jay Leach (Boston on November 5), Mike Morrison (Edmonton on November 7), George Parros (Los Angeles on October 5), Nolan Schaefer (San Jose on October 26), Martin St. Pierre (Chicago on November 4), and Mark Streit (Montreal on October 8).