FLORENCE, S.C. – Pee Dee Pride goaltender Matt Underhill has been invited to the Chicago Blackhawks Prospects Camp that runs Wednesday to Saturday. The 37-player roster for the camp includes 12 of Chicago’s 17 picks from the 2004 National Hockey League Entry Draft, including defenseman Cam Barker, who was the third selection overall.
Selected by Calgary in the sixth round (170th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Underhill made an emergency start for the Blackhawks on March 7 and made 29 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to Edmonton.
Named to the Southern Conference All-Star Team for the 2002 ECHL All-Star Game, Underhill has played the past two seasons with the Pride going 26-27-5. He has also played in the American Hockey League with Manchester and Providence going 5-5-1.
“No one deserves this opportunity more than Matt,” said Pride coach Perry Florio. “I have never seen a player work as hard as Matt, nor have I ever coached a player so dedicated to being the very best. Player development is our top priority and we wish Matt well in Chicago.”
There were 108 ECHL players that played in the NHL in 2003-04, including 31 goaltenders, and there were 11 players, including eight goaltenders, who appeared in both the ECHL and the NHL in 2003-04. There have been 255 ECHL players that have played in the NHL, including a record 40 in 2003-04 that made their first NHL appearance after playing in the ECHL.
For the fifth consecutive year in 2004, the ECHL was represented on the Stanley Cup Champion with Tampa Bay’s Ruslan Fedotenko, Nolan Pratt and Andre Roy as well as radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin and assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze.
The three players are the most ECHL representatives on a Stanley Cup Champion in a single season, surpassing 2001 when David Aebischer and Pratt helped Colorado win the title, and brings the total number of ECHL alumni on the Stanley Cup to nine. Pratt becomes the first ECHL player to have his name engraved twice on the Stanley Cup, earning the honor for the first time in 2001.
The previous alumni whose names are on the Stanley Cup are Corey Schwab (New Jersey – 2003), Manny Legace (Detroit – 2002), Aebischer and Pratt (Colorado – 2001), Krzysztof Oliwa (New Jersey – 2000) and Kevin Dean (New Jersey – 1995).