PRINCETON, N.J. – When the National Hockey League returns on Wednesday there will be 13 coaches with ECHL backgrounds behind the bench for NHL teams.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and there have been 256 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.
Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with Wheeling in the ECHL, is head coach of Carolina and will be the head coach of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. Bruce Cassidy, who coached Jacksonville from 1996-98 and Trenton in 1999-2000, is an assistant coach with Chicago while Brian McCutcheon, who was ECHL Coach of the Year with Columbus (Ohio) in 1996-97, is an assistant coach with Buffalo.
Wayne Cashman, who coached Pensacola in 1999-2000, is an assistant coach with Boston and Charlie Huddy, who coached Huntington in 1996-97, is an assistant coach with Edmonton. Barry Smith, who was an assistant coach with Erie from 1992-95 and head coach for Erie in 1995-96 and an assistant coach with Baton Rouge in 1997-98 and 1999-2000, is an assistant coach with Vancouver. Jack Capuano, who spent eight seasons with Knoxville and Pee Dee, is an assistant coach with the New York Islanders as is Dan Bylsma, who played two seasons with Greensboro.
Jim Playfair, who coached Dayton and was ECHL Coach of the Year in 1994-95, is an assistant with Calgary and Peter Horachek, who coached Louisville in 1990-91 and Trenton in 2001-02, is an assistant coach with Nashville. Dave Farrish, who was coach of Pensacola in 2004-05 and coach of Louisiana from 2000-05 earning ECHL Coach of the Year honors in 2002, is an assistant coach with Anaheim. The St. Louis Blues have Don Granato, who captured the Kelly Cup with Peoria in 2000, as an assistant coach and Jamie Kompon, who played for Hampton Roads in 1989-90 and for Cincinnati and Winston-Salem in 1990-91, as their video/assistant strength & conditioning coach.