The ECHL has 93 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, surpassing the record 87 players from last season and marking the 11th 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 29 of the 30 teams and has affiliations with 27 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 17th 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 and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the ninth 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 27 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, 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 512 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 22 in 2012-13. The ECHL has had 320 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 256 ECHL players have played their first game in the last eight seasons for an average of 32 per year.
There were five players who played in the ECHL in 2012-13 who went on to make their NHL debut last season: Jason Akeson with Trenton and Philadelphia, Philipp Grubauer with Reading and Washington, Matt Konan with Trenton and Philadelphia, Darcy Kuemper with Orlando and Minnesota and Petr Mrazek with Toledo and Detroit.
The ECHL was represented for the 13th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2013 with Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Sheldon Brookbank and Daniel Carcillo, vice president/assistant to the president Al MacIsaac director of pro scouting Ryan Stewart and general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard. There were 53 former players and 18 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the eighth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 10th 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 Sebastien Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006. The 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs while the 500th player honor is shared by Anthony Peluso and Darcy Kuemper, who both made their debut on Feb. 12, 2013 with the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, respectively.
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 (Utah Grizzlies) – 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) and Bobby Robins (IR) (Elmira, 2007-08; Bakersfield, 2010-11 and Chicago, 2011-12)
Carolina Hurricanes (Florida Everblades) – Patrick Dwyer (Gwinnett, 2004-05) and Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09)
Chicago Blackhawks (Toledo Walleye) – Assistant coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91) and Sheldon Brookbank (Mississippi, 2001-02)
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) and P.A. Parenteau (Augusta, 2005-06)
Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Goaltending coach Mike Valley (Augusta, 1998-00; Louisiana, 1999-01; Wheeling, 2002-03 and Peoria, 2003-04), Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2008-09), Dan Ellis (Idaho, 2003-04), Vernon Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02), Ryan Garbutt (Gwinnett, 2010-11), Chris Mueller (Johnstown, 2008-09 and Cincinnati, 2009-10), Rich Peverley (IR) (South Carolina, 2004-05 and Reading, 2005-06) and Antoine Roussel (Reading, 2010-11)
Edmonton Oilers (Bakersfield Condors) – Goaltending coach Frederic Chabot (Winston-Salem, 1991-92), Will Acton (Reading, 2010-11), Mark Arcobello (Stockton, 2010-11), Devan Dubnyk (Stockton, 2006-07), Luke Gazdic (Idaho, 2008-10), Jason LaBarbera (Charlotte, 2000-02), Steve MacIntyre (IR) (Charlotte, 2003-06) and Corey Potter (IR) (Charlotte, 2006-07)
Florida Panthers (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Video coach Jason Cipolla (South Carolina, 1995-98), Krys Barch (Richmond, 2001-02 and Greenville, 2004-06), Joey Crabb (Alaska, 2012-13), Scott Gomez (Alaska, 2004-05 and 2012-13), Steve Pinizzotto (IR) (South Carolina, 2007-09) and Tim Thomas (Birmingham, 1997-98)
Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-00; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2004-07), Daniel Carcillo (Wheeling, 2005-06), Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13), Dwight King (Ontario, 2009-10 and 2012-13), Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13), Jordan Nolan (Ontario, 2009-10), Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08) and Ben Scrivens (Reading, 2010-11)
Montreal Canadiens (Wheeling Nailers) – Assistant coach J.J. Daigneault (Phoenix (2005-06), Francis Bouillon (Wheeling, 1996-97), David Desharnais (Cincinnati, 2007-08) and George Parros (Reading, 2004-05)
New Jersey Devils – Michael Ryder (Tallahassee, 2000-01 and Mississippi, 2001-02)
New York Islanders (Stockton Thunder) – Head coach Jack Capuano (Tallahassee, 1996-97, Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-05), assistant coach Brent Thompson (Alaska, 2009-11), goaltending coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06), Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05), Andrew MacDonald (Utah, 2007-08) and Colin McDonald (Stockton, 2008-09)
New York Rangers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Assistant coach Daniel Lacroix (Atlantic City, 2001-02), video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92), Martin Biron (South Carolina, 1997-98) and Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06)
Ottawa Senators (Elmira Jackals) – Assistant coach Mark Reeds (Peoria, 1996-99), Cory Conacher (Cincinnati, 2010-11), Joe Corvo (Hampton Roads, 1998-99), Matt Kassian (Texas, 2007-08) and Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-00)
Philadelphia Flyers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Head coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98), Marc-Andre Bourdon (Greenville, 2010-11), Jay Rosehill (Johnstown, 2005-07 and Mississippi, 2007-08) and Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-00)
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), goalie development coach Mike Buckley (Mississippi, 2002-04 and Gwinnett, 2003-04), Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07), Tomas Vokoun (IR) (Wheeling, 1995-96) and Jeff Zatkoff (Ontario, 2008-09)
San Jose Sharks (San Francisco Bulls) – Goaltender coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92), assistant coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson, 1999-00), Andrew Desjardins (Phoenix, 2008-09) and Alex Stalock (Stockton, 2011-12)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Orlando Solar Bears) – 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), Troy Bodie (Stockton, 2006-07), James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09) and Kenny Ryan (IR) (Reading, 2011-12)
Vancouver Canucks (Kalamazoo Wings) – Assistant coach Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas, 2003-09), Jeremie Blain (IR) (Idaho, 2012-13) and Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05)
Washington Capitals (Reading Royals) – Goaltending coach Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92), Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07), Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10), Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina, 2008-09) and Steve Oleksy (Las Vegas, 2008-09; Toledo, 2009-10 and Idaho, 2009-12)
Winnipeg Jets (Ontario Reign) – 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), Al Montoya (Charlotte, 2005-06), Adam Pardy (Las Vegas (2005-06), Anthony Peluso (Alaska, 2009-10), Devin Setoguchi (Ontario, 2012-13) 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 celebrated 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 22 teams in 15 states in 2013-14.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• ECHL has affiliations with 27 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2013-14 and for the past 24 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.