It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 15th Anniversary Season of the East Coast Hockey League.
The ECHL was formed in 1988-89 with five teams in three states playing 150 games. This season, the ECHL will play 972, games with 27 teams in 14 states taking the ice, including the newest member, the Lexington Men O’ War.
The ECHL has grown to become a leading developmental league as evidenced by the 192 former players that have gone on to play in the National Hockey League. Eighty-five former ECHL players skated in the NHL in 2001-02, including 18 who made their first-ever appearance, and the ECHL also had 400 call-ups to the American Hockey League. In 2002, for the third year in a row in 2002, a former ECHL player was a member of the NHL Championship team, as Manny Legace became the fifth ECHL alumnus to hoist the Stanley Cup.
In addition to players, the league has been a stepping stone for coaches, on-ice officials and front-office personnel. Former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette is in his second season as head coach of the New York Islanders, while former Jacksonville and Trenton coach Bruce Cassidy is in his first season behind the bench as the head coach of the Washington Capitals.
The Florida Everblades will host the 2003 Compuware/ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition on January 20-21. We hope you will be able to join us at TECO Arena as the Southern Conference All-Stars host the Northern Conference All-Stars.
As it has for the past 14 seasons, the East Coast Hockey League will continue its commitment to provide affordable quality entertainment in a family environment.
On behalf of the East Coast Hockey League and its members, I thank you for your continued support.
East Coast Hockey League