PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Monday that the National Hockey League has hired T.J. Luxmore, who worked as a full-time referee in the ECHL from 2010-2012, including the 2011 and 2012 Kelly Cup Finals, and Jon McIsaac, who worked a split schedule between the ECHL and AHL in 2011-12.
In addition to his experience in the ECHL, Luxmore also spent time in the Ontario Hockey League, and served as a referee at the Traverse City Rookie Tournament in 2011.
“Having the opportunity to work in the ECHL during the past two seasons has given me valuable experience working with professional players,” Luxmore said. “Having a dedicated staff led by Joe Ernst and the ECHL supervisors has allowed me to grow and develop both on and off the ice. The caliber of hockey in the ECHL definitely prepares an official for the next levels in their officiating career. I am very grateful for this opportunity with the NHL and I thank the ECHL for helping get to this point.”
McIsaac spent last season working between the ECHL and American Hockey League. Prior to last season he spent two years in the Central Hockey League and six in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“The ECHL is very proud to learn that the National Hockey League has hired both T.J. and Jon to their staff for this upcoming season,” said ECHL Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst. “They have both proven over the course of this past season that they are ready for this next step in their careers and we are proud to have been able to have played a part in their development.
“We are pleased that the National Hockey League recognizes the ECHL as a top development league for officials to learn what it takes to deal with professionals on an every games basis. We strive to maintain this standard we have set from the officiating side of the ECHL in developing officials for the NHL.”
In addition to Luxmore and McIsaac, the NHL also hired former ECHL official Trent Knorr as a referee. Knorr worked in the ECHL as a linesman from 2005-11.
This is the sixth consecutive season that an ECHL referee has been hired by the National Hockey League. David Banfield was hired prior to the 2007-08 season, Ghislain Hebert joined the NHL prior to the 2008-09, Francis Charron was hired prior to the 2009-10 season, Jean Hebert was hired prior to the 2010-11 season and Graham Skilliter and Matt MacPherson were hired prior to the 2011-12 season.
There are 25 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
Barton, McCauley, Nowak, O’Rourke, Pochmara, Pollock, Rooney, Sharrers and Walsh all worked in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Barton, McCauley, O’Rourke, Pollock, Rooney and Sharrersworked the Conference Finals and O’Rourke and Rooney worked the Stanley Cup Final. It was thesixth year in a row that Barton, McCauley, Nowak, Pollock and Sharrers have worked the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks, Jack Capuano of the New York Islanders, Glen Gulutzan of the Dallas Stars, Peter Laviolette of the Philadelphia Flyers and Claude Noel of the Winnipeg while former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. 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 while Bylsma earned the Coach of the Year Award in 2010-11. There are 25 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 12 Stanley Cup champions including in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Conn Smythe Award winner Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti.
The ECHL was represented in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was the seventh year in a row that there were at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience competed in the NHL postseason. It marked the eighth straight year that the ECHL has been represented by at least six coaches.
There have been 490 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 23 in 2011-12. There were six players who played in the ECHL and the NHL in 2011-12: Akim Aliu with Colorado and Calgary, Brian Foster with Cincinnati and Florida, Milan Kytnar with Stockton and Edmonton, Peter Mannino with Chicago and Winnipeg, Jussi Rynnas with Reading and Toronto and Allen York with Chicago and Columbus.
The ECHL has had 298 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years. There have been 234 ECHL players have played their first game in the last seven seasons for an average of more than 33 per year.
The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender and current Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 23 teams in 16 states in 2012-13.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2011-12 and for the past 23 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.