For the 29th year in a row the ECHL is represented on the American Hockey League champion as five of the 23 players who played for the Toronto Marlies in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs played in the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League.
There have been 129 former ECHL players on the last 14 AHL champions.
The ECHL has had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the AHL the last 17 years. The Orlando Solar Bears served as the ECHL affiliate for Toronto during the 2017-18 season.
Former ECHL players who captured the 2018 Calder Cup title are Justin Holl (Indy, 2014-15), Vincent LoVerde (Ontario, 2011-13), Mason Marchment (Orlando, 2016-17), Chris Mueller (Johnstown, 2008-09 and Cincinnati, 2009-10) and Garret Sparks (Orlando, 2013-16). Toronto Assistant Coach A.J. MacLean played in the ECHL with Dayton in 2005-06 and Pensacola in 2007-08.
Eight of the 22 players on the runner-up Texas Stars had ECHL experience with Landon Bow (Idaho, 2016-17), Justin Dowling (Utah, 2011-12 and Idaho, 2012-13), Austin Fyten (Idaho, 2012-14, 2017-18 and South Carolina, 2015-16), Samuel Laberge (Idaho, 2017-18), Matt Mangene (Trenton, 2012-13; Stockton, 2013-14 and Florida, 2014-15), Mike McKenna (Las Vegas, 2005-07), Travis Morin (South Carolina, 2006-09) and Brent Regner (Evansville, 2012-13). Texas Head Coach Derek Laxdal played in the ECHL with Roanoke in 1993-94 and was head coach of Idaho from 2005-10 and received the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year in 2009-10 while Stars Assistant Coach Karl Taylor was head coach of Reading from 2005-08 and Ontario from 2008-11.
Other former ECHL personnel with the Stars are General Manager Scott White, who played with Greensboro from 1989-92 and was head coach of Columbia from 2001-05; Equipment Manager Brian Garcia, who held similar roles in the ECHL with Long Beach and Las Vegas; Athletic Trainer Shay McGlynn, who was a trainer with Greenville from 2013-15 and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Michael Delay, who worked in the front office with the Las Vegas Wranglers from 2003-10.
The Idaho Steelheads served as the ECHL affiliate for Texas during the 2017-18 season.
During the 2017-18 season, 321 ECHL players were recalled to the American Hockey League for a total of 616 recalls. For the third consecutive season, the Manchester Monarchs led the ECHL with 22 players recalled.
Nine times in the last 18 years the winner of the AHL Coach of the Year award has been a former ECHL coach including former Roanoke Valley Rebels’ and Richmond Renegades’ head coach Roy Sommer, who won the award in 2016-17 and former Trenton Devils’ coach Rick Kowalsky, a 2017 inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, who won the award in 2015-16. Former ECHL coaches Scott Gordon and Mike Haviland won the award in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007. Former ECHL coaches won the award four consecutive years from 2001-04 with Don Granato, Bruce Cassidy, Geoff Ward and Claude Noel. The first former ECHL coach to win the award was Peter Laviolette in 1999.
For the 11th season in a row at least six former ECHL players were named CCM/AHL Player of the Week with former Toledo Walleye goaltender Jared Coreau, former Indy Fuel goaltender Collin Delia, former Ontario Reign goaltender Michael Hutchinson, former Missouri Mavericks goaltender Ville Husso, former Orlando Solar Bears forward Mason Marchment, former Fort Wayne Komets goaltender Spencer Martin, former Atlanta Gladiators goaltender Zane McIntyre, former Stockton Thunder defenseman Andrey Pedan, former Utah Grizzlies forward Trevor Smith and former Orlando Solar Bears goaltender Garret Sparks.
There were four former ECHL players who participated in the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic.
Twelve of the 30 head coaches in the American Hockey League during the 2017-18 season previously served as coaches in the ECHL with Bakersfield’s Gerry Fleming, Belleville’s Kurt Kleinendorst, Binghamton’s Rick Kowalsky, Bridgeport’s Brent Thompson, Hartford’s Keith McCambridge, Hershey’s Troy Mann, Iowa’s Derek Lalonde, Lehigh Valley’s Scott Gordon, San Antonio’s Eric Veilleux, San Jose’s Roy Sommer, Texas’ Derek Laxdal and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Clark Donatelli.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the American Hockey League during the 2017-18 season included Kevin Bartl and Ryan Holt of the Bakersfield Condors, Alan Fuehring of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Jason Shaya of the Charlotte Checkers, Jason Shaver of the Chicago Wolves, Tony Brown of the Cleveland Monsters, Zack Fisch of the Hershey Bears, Joe O’Donnell of the Iowa Wild, Bob Rotruck of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Cameron Close of the Ontario Reign, Joseph Zakrzewski of the Rockford IceHogs, Dan Weiss of the San Antonio Rampage, Brandon Kisker of the Stockton Heat, Lukas Favale of the Syracuse Crunch, Tom Callahan of the Tucson Roadrunners, Andy Zilch of the Utica Comets and Mike O’Brien of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Forty-one of the 63 referees working in the American Hockey League in 2017-18, including three of the eight referees contracted to the NHL, came from the ECHL. Ninety-six of the 179 linesmen in the AHL have worked games in the ECHL.
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 30th season in 2017-18. There have been 641 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 18 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 31 NHL teams in 2017-18, marking the 21st 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 Twitter and Facebook.