PRINCETON, N.J. – For the fifth consecutive year a former ECHL player will be a member of the National Hockey League Champion, and either Calgary’s Krzysztof Oliwa or Tampa Bay’s Nolan Pratt will become the first ECHL player to have their name appear for a second time on the Stanley Cup. Oliwa, who played from 1993-96 with Raleigh, was the second ECHL player to hoist the Stanley Cup as a member of the New Jersey Devils in 2000 while Pratt, who played for Richmond in 1995-96, was a member of the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.
In 2003, New Jersey backup goaltender Corey Schwab became the sixth ECHL alumnus to hoist the Stanley Cup joining Manny Legace (Detroit, 2002), David Aebischer and Pratt (Colorado, 2001), Oliwa (New Jersey, 2000) and Kevin Dean (New Jersey, 1995).The ECHL had more than 30 players, six coaches and several off-ice personnel when the Stanley Cup Playoffs began and each of the 16 teams had an ECHL player on their roster. Calgary’s ECHL affiliate is the Las Vegas Wranglers while Tampa Bay’s ECHL affiliate is the Pensacola Ice Pilots.
In addition to Oliwa, who has scored two points (0g-2a) in 15 postseason games, Calgary has Brent Krahn and assistant coach Jim Playfair, who was head coach of Dayton from 1993-96. Krahn played with Las Vegas in 2003-04.
Tampa Bay radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin and assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze both began their careers with Johnstown. In his second season with the Lightning, Mishkin began his broadcasting career in 1991-92 and spent three seasons with the Chiefs while Heinze was the equipment manager for Johnstown from 1988-92 and 1995-99.
Tampa Bay also has Ruslan Fedotenko, who played for Trenton in 1999-2000, and Andre Roy, who played for Charlotte in 1997-98. Fedotenko and Roy have both played in all 16 postseason games for the Lightning while Pratt has played in 13 games. Fedotenko is tied for the team lead and for second in the league with nine goals, and he has scored 10 points. Roy leads the team and is tied for fourth in the league with 40 penalty minutes and he has scored three points (1g-2a).
The Lightning playoff roster also includes Ryan Craig, Brian Eklund and Jean-Francois Soucy, who all played for Pensacola of the ECHL in 2003-04, Timo Helbling, who played for Toledo in 2002-03, and Pascal Trepanier, who played for Dayton in 1994-95.
In 2003-04 there were 40 players who played their first game in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, surpassing the high of 27 players in 1999-2000 and 2000-01. Eleven players, including eight goaltenders, appeared in both the ECHL and the NHL in 2003-04, breaking the high of five players in 2001-02, and a total of 108 ECHL players played in the NHL in 2003-04. The ECHL has affiliations with 21 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2003-04 and every NHL team had an ECHL player play for it in 2003-04.
ECHL Coaches, Players, Personnel In Stanley Cup Finals
Calgary – Assistant Coach Jim Playfair (Dayton, 93-96), Krzysztof Oliwa (Raleigh, 94-96) and Brent Krahn (Las Vegas, 03-04).
Tampa Bay – Radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin (Johnstown, 1991-94), assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze (Johnstown, 1988-92 and 1995-99), Ryan Craig (Pensacola, 03-04), Brian Eklund (Pensacola, 03-04), Ruslan Fedotenko (Trenton, 99-00), Timo Helbling (Toledo, 02-03), Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 95-96), Andre Roy (Charlotte, 97-98), Jean-Francois Soucy (Pensacola, 03-04) and Pascal Trepanier (Dayton, 94-95).