PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL has 87 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, surpassing the record 81 players from last season and marking the 10th season in a row with more than 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has former players on each of the 30 teams and has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There are 30 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach 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 eighth 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. Bylsma, who played in the ECHL with Greensboro from 1992-94, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2010-11.
There are 26 former ECHL officials 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.
There have been 490 players who 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. 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.
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 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 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.
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. The 100th player honor is shared by Jean-Sebastian Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th player was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006 and the 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League 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.
Former ECHL coaches and players on NHL Opening-Day Rosters (ECHL affiliate listed in parentheses):
(IR) – Injured Reserve
Anaheim Ducks (Fort Wayne Komets) – Head coach Bruce Boudreau (Mississippi, 1996-99), assistant coach Bob Woods (Johnstown, 1990-94; Hampton Roads, 1995-96; Mobile, 1996-97; Tallahassee, 1997-98 and Mississippi, 1998-05), Francois Beauchemin (Mississippi, 2001-02) and Daniel Winnik (Phoenix, 2006-07)
Boston Bruins (South Carolina Stingrays) – Assistant coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-00), Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09) and Rich Peverley (South Carolina, 2004-05 and Reading, 2005-06)
Buffalo Sabres – Matt Ellis (Toledo, 2002-03)
Carolina Hurricanes (Florida Everblades) – Joe Corvo (Hampton Roads, 1998-99), Patrick Dwyer (Gwinnett, 2004-05), Dan Ellis (Idaho, 2003-04) and Chad LaRose (Florida, 2003-04)
Chicago Blackhawks (Toledo Walleye) – Assistant coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91), Sheldon Brookbank (Mississippi, 2001-02), Daniel Carcillo (Wheeling, 2005-06)
Colorado Avalanche – Patrick Bordeleau (Charlotte, 2007-08; Wheeling, 2007-08; Pensacola, 2007-08; Augusta, 2008-09 and Florida, 2008-09), Cody McLeod (San Diego, 2005-06), Ryan O’Byrne (Florida, 2012-13) and P.A. Parenteau (Augusta, 2005-06)
Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Head coach Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas, 2003-09), goaltending coach Mike Valley (Augusta, 1998-00; Louisiana, 1999-01; Wheeling, 2002-03 and Peoria, 2003-04), Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2008-09), Vern Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02), Ryan Garbutt (Gwinnett, 2010-11), Michael Ryder (Tallahassee, 2000-01 and Mississippi, 2001-02) and Tom Wandell (Idaho, 2007-08)
Detroit Red Wings (Toledo Walleye) – Joey MacDonald (IR) (Toledo, 2001-02 and 2005-06)
Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-00; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2004-07), Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13), Dwight King (Ontario, 2009-10), Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13), Jordan Nolan (Ontario, 2009-10) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)
Minnesota Wild (Orlando Solar Bears) – Matt Kassian (Texas, 2007-08), Zenon Konopka (Wheeling, 2002-03 and Idaho, 2003-04), Torrey Mitchell (San Francisco (2012-13) and Devin Setoguchi (Ontario, 2012-13)
Montreal Canadiens (Wheeling Nailers) – Assistant coach J.J. Daigneault (Phoenix (2005-06), Francis Bouillon (Wheeling, 1996-97) and David Desharnais (Cincinnati, 2007-08)
Nashville Predators (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Assistant coach Peter Horachek (Nashville, 1990-91 and Trenton, 2001-02) and Richard Clune (Idaho, 2007-08)
New York Islanders – Head coach Jack Capuano (Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-05), assistant coach Brent Thompson (Alaska, 2009-11), goaltending coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06), Keith Aucoin (Florida, 2001-02), Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05), Joe Finley (South Carolina, 2009-11), Andrew MacDonald (Utah, 2007-08), Colin McDonald (Stockton, 2008-09) and Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-00)
New York Rangers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92), Stu Bickel (Bakersfield, 2009-10 and Elmira, 2010-11), Martin Biron (South Carolina, 1997-98) and Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06)
Ottawa Senators (Elmira Jackals) – Assistant coach Mark Reeds (Peoria, 1996-99) and Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-00)
Philadelphia Flyers (Trenton Titans) – Head coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98), Marc-Andre Bourdon (IR) (Greenville, 2010-11), Ruslan Fedotenko (Trenton, 1999-00), Jody Shelley (Johnstown, 1998-00) and Matt Walker (IR) (Peoria, 2000-01)
Phoenix Coyotes (Gwinnett Gladiators) – Associate coach Jim Playfair (Dayton, 1993-96), Paul Bissonnette (Wheeling, 2005-08), Alexandre Bolduc (Bakersfield, 2005-07), Jason Labarbera (Charlotte, 2000-02) and Mike Smith (Lexington, 2002-03)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Head coach Dan Bylsma (Greensboro, 1992-94), assistant coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-95 and Jacksonville, 1995-96), Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07) and Tomas Vokoun (Wheeling, 1995-96)
San Jose Sharks (San Francisco Bulls) – Goalie coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92), assistant coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson, 1999-00), Andrew Desjardins (Phoenix, 2008-09), Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07) and Marek Viedensky (IR) (San Francisco, 2012-13)
St. Louis Blues (Evansville IceMen) – Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach (2005-06) and Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13)
Tampa Bay Lightning (Florida Everblades) – Assistant coach Dan Lacroix (Atlantic City, 2001-02), Cory Conacher (Cincinnati, 2010-11), B.J. Crombeen (Idaho, 2005-07 and Orlando, 2012-13), Tom Pyatt (Charlotte, 2007-08) and Nate Thompson (Alaska, 2012-13)
Toronto Maple Leafs – Assistant coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown, 1988-89; Nashville, 1992-93; Knoxville, 1993-94 and Roanoke, 1998-00), assistant coach Dave Farrish (Louisiana, 2000-04 and Pensacola, 2004-05), James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09), Ben Scrivens (Reading, 2010-11) and David Steckel (Reading, 2004-05)
Vancouver Canucks (Kalamazoo Wings) – Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05) and Steve Pinizzotto (IR) (South Carolina, 2007-09)
Washington Capitals (Reading Royals) – Associate goaltending coach Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92), Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07), Joey Crabb (Alaska, 2012-13), Matt Hendricks (Florida, 2004-05), Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10) and Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina, 2008-09)
Winnipeg Jets (Colorado Eagles) – Head coach Claude Noel (Roanoke Valley, 1991-92; Dayton, 1991-93 and Toledo, 2002-03), assistant coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1997-98), assistant coach Pascal Vincent (Knoxville, 1992-93), goaltending coach Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90), Mark Dekanich (IR) (Cincinnati, 2009-10), Aaron Gagnon (IR) (Idaho, 2007-08), Al Montoya (Charlotte, 2005-06) and Mark Stuart (Florida, 2012-13)
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.
• ECHL has affiliations with 25 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.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.