The ECHL will be represented by ten players and two coaches in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey tournament which will be played September 17-October 1.
The ECHL is represented on five of the tournament’s eight teams.
The United States and Team Europe lead the way as each team has four ECHL alums, while the Czech Republic has two former ECHL players. Canada and Finland are both represented by one former ECHL player.
Former ECHL coach and executive Jack Capuano and former player and coach Scott Gordon are serving as assistant coaches with the United States. Capuano served as an assistant coach with the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks during the 1996-97 season before being hired as head coach of the Knoxville Cherokees late that season. He moved with the team to Pee Dee and was head coach of the Pride from 1997-99 before moving into the team’s front office. Capuano has been the head coach of the New York Islanders since November 2010, and his 210 wins rank second all-time among coaches in team history behind Al Albour. Gordon was a goaltender with the Johnstown Chiefs in the ECHL’s first season in 1988-89 and became the first ECHL player to advance to the National Hockey League when he debuted with the Quebec Nordiques on Jan. 30, 1990. He returned to play in the ECHL with Nashville in 1992-93 and Knoxville in 1993-94 and later served as head coach of the Roanoke Express for two seasons from 1998-2000. The 2016-17 season will be his second season as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Two former ECHL players are also part of the United States roster. Brandon Dubinsky tallied 16 points (9g-7a) in 17 games with the Alaska Aces during the 2012-13 season while Jonathan Quick made his professional debut with the Reading Royals in 2007-08. Quick appeared in 38 games for the Royals posting a record of 23-11-3 with one shutout, a 2.79 goals-against average and a save percentage of .905. Quick has captured Stanley Cup titles with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012 and 2014, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
All three of the goaltenders on Team Europe’s roster played in the ECHL. Thomas Greiss, who went 23-11-3 in 41 appearances with the New York Islanders last season, saw action in three games with Fresno in 2006-07. He has appeared in 130 career NHL games with the Islanders, San Jose, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. Philipp Grubauer earned a spot on the ECHL All-Rookie Team with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2011-12 and was the starting goaltender for the ECHL All-Star Game while with Reading in 2012-13. Later that season, he made his NHL debut with the Washington Capitals, becoming the first goaltender to ever appear in the ECHL All-Star Game and the NHL in the same season. Jaroslav Halak posted an 11-4-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.05 goals-against average and a save percentage of .932 in 20 appearances with Long Beach during the 2005-06 season. He has gone on to post a 200-115-37 record in 367 NHL appearances with Montreal, St. Louis, Washington and the New York Islanders. Also on Team Europe’s roster is Mark Streit, who recorded five assists in 16 games with Tallahassee during the 1999-2000 season. Streit has 407 points (90g-317a) in 716 career NHL games with Montreal, the New York Islanders and Philadelphia.
On the roster of the Czech Republic are former ECHL goaltenders Petr Mrazek and Michal Neuvirth. Mrazek made his professional debut with the Toledo Walleye in 2012-13, going 2-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a save percentage of .944 in three appearances. A fifth-round selection (141st overall) of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Mrazek is 46-30-8 in 94 career appearances with Detroit. Neuvirth earned a spot in the ECHL All-Star Game in 2009 while with South Carolina and has gone on to appear in 200 NHL games with Washington, Buffalo, the New York Islanders and Philadelphia posting a record of 84-71-21.
The 2015-16 recipient of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender, former South Carolina goaltender Braden Holtby is on Canada’s roster. Holtby took part in the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game and has a career NHL record of 149-60-25 with 23 shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.37 and a save percentage of .921 in 244 appearances with Washington.
Rounding out the ECHL contingent is Finland’s Mikko Koskinen. A second-round selection (31st overall) of the New York Islanders in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Koskinen went 6-0-0 with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage with Utah during the 2009-10 season. He appeared in four games with the Islanders in 2010-11, and has played in Europe over the last four seasons.
ECHL Representatives – World Cup of Hockey
Canada – Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10)
Czech Republic – Petr Mrazek (Toledo, 2012-13) and Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina, 2008-09)
Finland – Mikko Koskinen (Utah, 2009-10)
Team Europe – Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07), Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13), Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06) and Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-00)
United States – Assistant Coach Jack Capuano (Tallahassee, 1996-97; Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-2005), Assistant Coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown, 1988-89; Nashville, 1992-93; Knoxville, 1993-94 and Roanoke, 1998-2000), Brandon Dubinsky (Alaska, 2012-13) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 29th season in 2016-17. There have been 599 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 30 who made their NHL debuts in the 2015-16 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams in 2016-17, marking the 20th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.