AHL Champion Has 11 Former
ECHL Players, Two Coaches

Boudreau, Woods, Daubenspeck Add Calder Cup To Kelly Cup

PRINCETON, N.J. – For the 17th consecutive season, an ECHL player is a member of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Champion as the Hershey Bears have 11 former ECHL players on their roster.

Bears head coach Bruce Boudreau becomes the first coach to win both the Calder Cup and the Kelly Cup, having led Mississippi to the ECHL championship in 1999. Hershey assistant coach Bob Woods was the player/assistant coach for Mississippi from 1998-2001 and was head coach of the Sea Wolves from 2001-05. Bears goaltender Kirk Daubenspeck won the Kelly Cup with South Carolina in 2001.

In addition to Daubenspeck (Jacksonville, 1997-99; Chesapeake, 1998-99 and South Carolina, 1999-2006), the Hershey players with ECHL experience are 2005 ECHL Rookie of the Year Joey Tenute (South Carolina, 2004-05), Dean Arsene (Charlotte, 2001-02 and Reading, 2003-04), Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05), J.F. Fortin (Hampton Roads, 1999-2000 and Richmond, 2001-02), Jonas Johansson (South Carolina, 2004-06), Boyd Kane (Charlotte, 1998-2001), Graham Mink (Richmond, 2001-02), Lawrence Nycholat (Jackson, 2000-01), Dave Steckel (Reading, 2004-05) and Martin Wilde (Trenton, 2003-04 and Reading, 2004-05).

Milwaukee head coach Claude Noel reached the Calder Cup Finals for the second time in his first three seasons, having led the Admirals to the AHL championship while also being named AHL Coach of the Year in his first season in 2003-04. Noel coached Roanoke Valley in 1990-91, Dayton from 1991-93 and Toledo in 2002-03. The AHL Coach of the Year award was won by ECHL coaches four years in a row from 2001-04 with Noel, Geoff Ward (2003), Bruce Cassidy (2002) and Don Granato (2001) while current Carolina Hurricanes and former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette was the first ECHL coach to capture the award in 1999.

When the Calder Cup Playoffs began, the ECHL was represented by 172 players and each of the 16 teams had at least six ECHL players on their rosters led by Hartford with 16 players and the Syracuse with 15 players.

Milwaukee players with ECHL experience are Sheldon Brookbank (Mississippi, 2001-02), Paul Brown (Trenton, 2004-05), Chris Durno (Gwinnett, 2003-06), Brian Finley (Toledo, 2002-03), Simon Gamache (Greenville, 2001-02), Alex Kim (Reading, 2002-03; Peoria and Long Beach, 2003-04 and San Diego 2005-06), Steve Lingren (Dayton, 1994-97 and Victoria, 2005-06), Nathan Lutz (Reading, 2001-03 and Toledo, 2002-03), Scott May (Pensacola, 2004-05 and Trenton, 2005-06), Sean McAslan (Columbus, 2001-03 and Long Beach 2005-06), Jake Moreland (Atlantic City, 2003-05 and Stockton 2005-06), Rich Peverley (South Carolina, 2004-05 and Reading, 2005-06), T.J. Reynolds (Wheeling, 2002-05) and Kevin St. Pierre (Toledo, 1999-2000).

Current ECHL linesmen Bryan Pancich (Games 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6), Aaron Lundbohm (Games 3, 4 and 5), Justin Lyle (Games 1 and 6) and Scott Bokal (Game 3) worked all six games in the Calder Cup Finals while former ECHL referee Justin Pierre worked Games 1 and 6. Current ECHL referees David Banfield, Chris Ciamaga and Jamie Koharski were both selected to work in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Milwaukee’s Gamache, who began his professional career in the ECHL with Greenville, ranked third in the Calder Cup Playoffs with 12 goals and was fourth with 28 points in 21 games while Hershey’s Nycholat, who played in the ECHL as a rookie, tied for third among defensemen with 14 points (2g-12a) in 16 games. Portland’s Zenon Konopka, who played in the ECHL for both Idaho and Wheeling, led the Calder Cup Playoffs with eight power-play goals and ranked second with 18 assists while finishing third with 29 points in 19 games.

The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the AHL in 2005-06 and the ECHL had 416 call ups to the AHL, involving 263 players, in 2005-06. The ECHL has had more players called up to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined each of the past four seasons with 1,646 call ups involving almost 1,000 players.

Dany Sabourin became the eighth former ECHL goaltender to win the AHL Goaltender of the Year award in 2006, joining Jason LaBarbera (2004), Marc Lamothe (2003), Martin Brochu (2000), Martin Biron (1999), Scott Langkow (1998), Manny Legace (1996) and Frederic Chabot (1994). The AHL Most Valuable Player Award has been won four times by former ECHL players, most recently by former Charlotte goaltender Jason LaBarbera in 2003-04. Other former ECHL players who were named as MVP of the AHL are Eric Boguniecki in 2001-02, Martin Brochu in 1999-2000 and Brad Smyth in 1995-96.In 2005-06, the ECHL was represented by eight head coaches, 13 assistant coaches and countless other personnel on the 27 teams in the AHL, including Mike Haviland, who won the Kelly Cup with Atlantic City in 2002-03 and Trenton in 2004-05 and moved up to the AHL as head coach of Norfolk.

About The ECHL

The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2005-06. There have been 303 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 who have made their NHL debut in 2005-06.

The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2005-06 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.

The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.