PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced that its member teams donated more than $3.4 million to charitable and non-profit organizations during the 2008-09 season, including over $1.7 in monetary contributions.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and its teams have contributed over $10 million to charity the last three years and more than $12.5 million the last four seasons.
The financial contributions are in addition to the thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions throughout the year.
“Even in a tough economy our teams continue to provide quality entertainment for our fans and foster the growth of hockey while also being a contributing member of their local communities,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “We are proud of the efforts of all ECHL teams in raising awareness and funds for many worthwhile causes, particularly cancer awareness and prevention.”
The total includes over $450,000 for cancer awareness and prevention raising the total raised through “Pink” events the last three seasons to more than $1.2 million.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 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 20 teams in 15 states and British Columbia in 2009-10.
• 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 National Hockey League in 2008-09 marking the 12th consecutive year for affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 407 former ECHL players have played in NHL.
• 151 former ECHL players have played their first NHL game in the last four seasons.
• Record 52 former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2008-09 and eight players played in both the ECHL and the NHL.
• There were 72 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has been represented on last eight Stanley Cup champions.
• Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders 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. Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.
• There are 15 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
• Eighteen former ECHL officials worked in the NHL in 2008-09 with referees David Banfield, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers. Barton, Joannette, Leggo, McCauley, Nowak, Pollock, Rooney and Sharrers all worked the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
• ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 19 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
• In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,500 call-ups involving more than 1,300 players since 2002-03.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.