Roster Includes 11 Rookies, 18 First-Time Selections
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Wednesday announced the starting lineup and roster of the American Conference team for the 2009 ECHL All-Star Game.
The Reading Royals, the City of Reading and the Sovereign Center will host the 17th Annual ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 21, 2009 and the 12th Annual All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 20, 2009.
There are 11 rookies on the American Conference and 18 of the 21 players are making their first appearance in an ECHL All-Star Game.
There have been 46 players from the All-Star Game who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 29 since 2002 when the lineups began having players who coaches felt were prospects to move up to a higher level.
American Conference Starters
G – Kris Mayotte, Johnstown (14-4-1, 2.56 GAA, .914 save pct.)
D – Jon Landry, Johnstown (31 gp, 7g, 11a, 18 pts)
D – Greg Labenski, Dayton (29 gp, 5g, 13a, 18 pts)
F – Olivier Latendresse, Cincinnati (23 gp, 18g, 15a, 33 pts)
F – Kevin Baker, Florida (27 gp, 23g, 19a, 42 pts)
F – Travis Morin, South Carolina (28 gp, 9g, 25a, 34 pts)
The starting lineups are determined in voting by American Conference coaches, team captains, media directors, broadcasters and media members. Coaches also submitted the top prospects from within their conference to determine the final roster with each of the nine teams having a representative.
The Stanley Cup and the Patrick J. Kelly Cup will both be on display throughout the event, marking the ninth time in the last 10 years that the NHL championship trophy and the ECHL championship trophy have been displayed together at the All-Star Game.
South Carolina’s Travis Morin is making second straight appearance and first start while it is the first All-Star selection for defenseman Johann Kroll and goaltender Michal Neuvirth. The 24-year-old Morin, who is under contract to Washington of the NHL, is fourth in the league with 25 assists and seventh with 34 points in 28 games while the 24-year-old Kroll has 16 points (1g-15a) in 26 games. Selected in the second round (34th overall) by Washington in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft and under contract to the Capitals, the 20-year-old Neuvirth is second in the league with a goals-against average of 1.90 and is third with a save percentage of .932 and tied for third with two shutouts.
It is the second start and appearance for Kevin Baker of Florida, who had a goal and an assist in the 2007 game. It is the first selection for Everblades rookie defenseman Aaron Brocklehurst and rookie goaltender David Leggio. Baker leads the league with 42 points and 11 power-play goals and is second with 23 goals and 18 power-play points. Leggio, who is under contract to Albany of the AHL, is 8-3-1 and tied for third with two shutouts while ranking ninth with a goals-against average of 2.48. The 23-year-old Brocklehurst has 13 points (4g-9a) in 25 games.
Wheeling is represented by rookies Tommy Goebel and Nick Johnson and Rob Sirianni. The 23-year-old Johnson, who is under contract to Pittsburgh of the NHL, is tied for fourth among league rookies with 14 goals and six power-play goals and is tied for 10th with 24 points in 18 games while also playing in the AHL where he has seven points (2g-5a) in 10 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The 24-year-old Goebel, who is under contract to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL, is tied for fifth among league rookies with 17 assists and is tied for seventh with 27 points in 20 games while also playing in the AHL where he has five points (3g-2a) in nine games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Sirianni is tied for fourth in the league with 17 goals and is tied for ninth with 33 points (17g-16a) in 18 games while also playing in the AHL where he has one goal in six games with Binghamton and one assist in three games with Philadelphia.
Johnstown has two starters with rookie defenseman Jon Landry and goaltender Kris Mayotte. Mayotte is 14-4-1 and tied for the league lead with 14 wins and three shootout wins while ranking 10th with a goals-against average of 2.56. The 24-year-old Landry, who is under contract to Columbus of the NHL, leads league defensemen with three game-winning goals and is tied for the lead with four power-play goals. He is tied for second among blueliners with seven goals and is tied for 11th with 18 points.
Representing Dayton will be starting defenseman Greg Labenski and rookie forward Justin Bowers. Labenski is tied for the league lead among defensemen with four power-play goals while he is tied for third with 14 power-play points and tied for 11th with 18 points. The 23-year-old Bowers is second among league rookies with 21 assists and is fourth with 31 points in 30 games.
Tyler Doig of Reading is making his second straight All-Star appearance after representing Columbia a year ago while it is the first selection for Royals defenseman Steve Ward. The 22-year-old Doig, who is under contract to Toronto of the AHL, leads the team with 17 assists, 11 power-play assists, 14 power-play points and 23 points. Ward is second on the team with six power-play assists and seven power-play points and leads Reading defensemen with eight assists and 10 points in 19 games while also playing in the AHL where he has one assist in six games for Albany.
Cincinnati is represented by starting forward Olivier Latendresse while Charlotte has rookie forward Matthew Ford. The 22-year-old Latendresse, who is under contract to Montreal of the NHL, is eighth in the league with 33 points (18g-15a) in 23 games while also playing in the AHL where he has five assists in eight games for Hamilton. The 24-year-old Ford leads the Checkers with 12 goals and is third on the team with 20 points in 13 games while also playing in the AHL where he has one goal in 12 games for Hartford.
Representing Elmira is forward Josh Aspenlind while forward Jordan Fox will represent Gwinnett. The 22-year-old Aspenlind leads the Jackals with 28 points and is tied for the team lead with 17 assists while ranking second with 11 goals. Fox leads the Gladiators with 13 goals and 31 points and is tied for the lead with 18 assists and two game-winning goals in 30 games.
Rookie forward Ryan Cruthers will represent Mississippi and defenseman Matt Cohen will represent Trenton. The 24-year-old Cruthers leads ECHL rookies with 18 goals and is second with 35 points in 29 games while the 23-year-old Cohen has 14 points (3g-11a) in 20 games.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch Games Live on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider” of the ECHL.
• Watch ECHL Games Around The Clock On ECHL TV on B2CableTV.com.
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 21 teams in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
• The Reading Royals, the City of Reading and the Sovereign Center will host the 17th Annual ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 21, 2009 and the 12th Annual All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 20, 2009.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• Affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League marking 12th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 385 former ECHL players have played in NHL.
• 129 have played their first NHL game in the last four seasons.
• 30 former ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season: former Wheeling Nailers and ECHL All-Star defenseman Paul Bissonnette (Pittsburgh on Oct. 4), former Bakersfield Condors center Alexandre Bolduc (Vancouver on Nov. 27), former Florida Everblades defenseman Brett Carson (Carolina on Dec. 7), former South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Sean Collins (Washington on Dec. 6), former Las Vegas Wranglers and Wheeling Nailers goaltender John Curry (Pittsburgh on Nov. 26), former Greenville Grrrowl goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (Edmonton on Oct. 17), former Johnstown Chiefs center Andre Deveaux (Toronto on Nov. 27), former Dayton Bombers center Philippe Dupuis (Colorado on Dec. 12), former Gwinnett Gladiators right wing Pat Dwyer former Columbus Cottonmouths and Tallahassee Tiger Sharks left wing Mitch Fritz (New York Islanders on Oct. 30), former South Carolina Stingrays right wing Andrew Gordon (Washington on Dec. 23), former Charlotte Checkers center Dwight Helminen (Carolina on Oct. 28), former Trenton Devils right wing Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (New Jersey on Oct. 22), former Gwinnett Gladiators defenseman Scott Lehman (Atlanta on Dec. 18), former Charlotte Checkers defenseman Steve MacIntyre (Edmonton on Oct. 15), former Florida Everblades left wing Kenndal McArdle (Florida on Dec. 2), former Phoenix RoadRunners and Wheeling Nailers center Cam Paddock (St. Louis on Nov. 14), former Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Adam Pardy (Calgary on Oct. 9), former Idaho Steelheads left wing Warren Peters (Calgary on Dec. 7), former Charlotte Checkers defenseman Corey Potter (New York Rangers on Dec. 7), former Charlotte Checkers, Columbia Inferno and Elmira Jackals defenseman Bryan Rodney (Carolina on Dec. 11), former Gwinnett Gladiators center Jared Ross (Philadelphia on Oct. 11), former Alaska Aces goaltender Marek Schwarz (St. Louis on Oct. 25), former Greenville Grrrowl and Stockton Thunder center Tim Sestito (Edmonton on Nov. 26), former Dayton Bombers and Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Tyler Sloan (Washington on Oct. 21), former Johnstown Chiefs and Mississippi Sea Wolves forward Radek Smolenak (Tampa Bay on Dec. 2), former Augusta Lynx defenseman Brett Skinner (New York Islanders on Oct. 27), former Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Tyson Strachan (St. Louis on Dec. 18), former Wheeling Nailers right wing Tim Wallace (Pittsburgh on Dec. 10) and former Idaho Steelheads center Tom Wandell (Dallas on Dec. 10).
• There were 72 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters.
• Twenty-six former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2007-08 including six who played in both the ECHL and the NHL: Chris Beckford-Tseu (Alaska and St. Louis), Adam Berti (Pensacola and Chicago), Joe Jensen (Wheeling and Carolina), Dan LaCosta (Elmira and Columbus), Jonathan Quick (Reading and Los Angeles) and Danny Taylor (Reading and Los Angeles).
• Record 47 former ECHL players played their first NHL game in 2005-06.
• ECHL is represented for the eighth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2008 by Aaron Downey of the Detroit Red Wings.
• Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award. Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.
• There are 18 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
• There are 18 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2008-09 with referees David Banfield, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers. Barton, Joannette, Leggo, McCauley, Nowak, Pollock, Rooney and Sharrers all worked the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
• ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 19 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
• In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.