PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Gwinnett goaltender Adam Berkhoel made his National Hockey League debut on Friday in Atlanta’s 5-1 loss at the New York Rangers, becoming the 263rd player to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.
In his first professional season in 2004-05, the 24-year-old was 4-1 and led the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a goals-against average of 1.53 while ranking fourth in save percentage with .938 after going 9-10-5 with two shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.43 and a save percentage of .913 in 24 regular season games while also playing one game in the American Hockey League with Chicago.
In 2004-05, Berkhoel has appeared in two games for Chicago where he is 1-1-0 with a goals-against average of 2.53 and a save percentage of .939.
Former Toledo defenseman Timo Helbling scored his first NHL point when he recorded an assist for Tampa Bay in its 4-3 loss to Buffalo on Thursday. In 2002-03, Helbling had 11 points (3g-8a) and 75 penalty minutes in 35 regular season games and one assist in seven Kelly Cup Playoff games for Toledo and one assist and 37 penalty minutes in 23 games with Milwaukee of the AHL.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and there is one head coach, 12 assistant coaches, 12 referees and five linesmen working in the NHL in 2005-06 who have ECHL experience. There have been seven players in 2005-06 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL: Timo Helbling (Tampa Bay on October 5), Derek Boogaard (Minnesota on October 5), Michael Garnett (Atlanta on October 12), Adam Berkhoel (Atlanta on October 15), Raitis Ivanans (Montreal on October 8), George Parros (Los Angeles on October 5) and Mark Streit (Montreal on October 8).