PRINCETON, N.J. – For the 15th consecutive season, an ECHL player is a member of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Champion. In addition to Claude Noel, who is in his first season as head coach, Milwaukee has eight players and radio announcer Kyle Schultz, who are all alumni of the ECHL. Milwaukee defeated Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 7-2 on Sunday.
Milwaukee players with ECHL experience are Vernon Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02), Brian Finley (Toledo, 2002-03), Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90), Simon Gamache (Greenville, 2001-02), Andrew Hutchinson (Toledo, 2002-03), Raitis Ivanans (Pensacola, 1999-2000; Toledo, 2001-02 and Baton Rouge, 2001-02), Alexandre Jacques (Toledo, 1997-98 and Toledo and Atlantic City, 2000-04), and Nathan Lutz (Reading, 2001-02 and Reading and Toledo, 2002-03). Flaherty was named MVP of the Calder Cup 2004 Playoffs.
Noel began his coaching career in the ECHL coaching Roanoke in 1990-91 and Dayton in 1991-93. Noel was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2002-03 after leading Toledo to a 47-15-10 record and the Brabham Cup, awarded annually to the ECHL team with the most regular season points, one year after Toledo finished last in the Northwest Division with a 28-34-10 record. Noel was named outstanding coach of the AHL in 2003-04 becoming the fourth ECHL coach in a row and the fifth ever to win the AHL coaching honor. Schultz was the radio announcer for Augusta in 2001-02 and 2002-03 and was the radio announcer for Tallahassee from 1996-2000.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players with ECHL experience are Martin Brochu (Wheeling, 1995-96 and 2003-04), Andy Chiodo (Wheeling, 2003-04), David Koci (Wheeling, 2001-03), Pauli Levokari (Greenville, 2003-04), Marquis Mathieu (Wheeling, 1993-94 and 1997-98; Raleigh and Toledo, 1994-95; Johnstown and Birmingham, 1995-96; Baton Rouge and Pensacola, 2002-03), Michel Ouellet (Wheeling, 2002-03), and Darcy Robinson (Wheeling, 2001-03).
When the Calder Cup Playoffs began, the ECHL was represented by 190 players and 13 coaches and each of the 20 teams had no less than four ECHL players on their roster and 10 of the teams had more than 10 players.