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Outdoor hockey coming to ECHL, Toledo

 

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Toledo Walleye, in conjunction with the ECHL, announced on Thursday plans for the first-ever outdoor game in ECHL history during the 2014-15 season.

For ten days ending 2014 and beginning 2015, downtown Toledo will be transformed into a winter wonderland culminating with the first ever outdoor professional hockey game at Fifth Third Field as ProMedica Toledo Hospital presents the Toledo Walleye Winterfest 2014.

“The Toledo Walleye are thrilled to host this unprecedented outdoor event. Our fans have been clamoring for an outdoor hockey game and the Toledo Walleye Winterfest is the perfect way to showcase old-school hockey while also featuring other winter sports and events,” says Joe Napoli, president and general manager, Toledo Mud Hens and Toledo Walleye.

“The Walleye have done a terrific job in entertaining their fans since the return of ECHL hockey to Toledo in 2009. We are thrilled to work with the Walleye to present the first-ever ECHL outdoor game and participate in what will an outstanding community event,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna.

The focal point for the Toledo Walleye Winterfest 2014 will be the special outdoor ice skating rink to be assembled at Fifth Third Field, with the featured event to be the first outdoor game in ECHL history. But there will be plenty of family-oriented events at both Fifth Third Field and the Huntington Center from Dec. 26, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015 including youth, high school and adult hockey at the outdoor rink. Kids and adults alike can enjoy a Rockefeller Center-like experience at Fifth Third Field or an open-skate at Huntington Center. Other activities will include broomball, curling, live music events, ice sculpture demonstrations and fireworks – and of course, lots of good food and hot chocolate.

“This event is all about our community and our region. We are extremely proud to be able to present a week of family-oriented holiday activities that will showcase our city and its finest attributes as well as generating a significant positive economic impact for our community,” says Randy Oostra, president and chief executive officer, ProMedica.

“We look forward to working with other local organizations and cultural venues, such as The Toledo Museum of Art, Imagination Station, The Toledo Zoo, the Toledo Symphony and our Metroparks, to make this a fun and memorable way to enjoy the holidays,” says Kevin Webb, president, ProMedica Toledo Hospital. “The community can expect this to be one of the best events that downtown Toledo has seen in years.”

ProMedica Toledo Hospital is a member of Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica, a mission-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization formed in 1986. ProMedica has more than 14,300 employees and nearly 1,700 physicians – with more than 400 healthcare providers employed by ProMedica Physicians. Its 11 hospitals and more than 306 facilities offer comprehensive diagnostic, medical and surgical specialties in heart and vascular, oncology, orthopaedics, neurology, and women and pediatric services. ProMedica’s mission is to improve health and well-being, with a strong focus on wellness and clinical excellence, as well as innovative, community advocacy programs that address health-related issues such as hunger and obesity. For more information, please visit www.promedica.org.

Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts 

• Watch games live on America One Sports, 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.

490 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.

• 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.

• 234 ECHL players have played their first game in the last seven seasons for an average of more than 33 per year.

• ECHL had a record 81 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2011-12, surpassing the 79 from 2010-11 and marking the ninth year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.

• ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

• 31 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. 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.

• 26 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, 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.

• ECHL was represented for the 12th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. Quick was named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the second consecutive year a former ECHL player won the award.. There were 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the seventh year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.

• ECHL was represented in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game by Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.  

• 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.

• ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2012-13 and for the past 23 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.

• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.

• The ECHL averaged 4,281 fans per game in 2011-12, marking the eighth consecutive season and the 20th time in the last 22 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.

• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.