CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks have re-signed defenseman Steve Poapst, who began his professional career in 1991-92 with Hampton Roads in the ECHL.
In his first professional season, the 6-0 and 199-pound Poapst scored 28 points (8g-20a) in 55 regular season games and five points (1g-4a) in 14 postseason games while helping Hampton Roads win the Riley Cup Championship. Poapst returned to Hampton Roads in 1992-93 scoring 35 points (10g-35a) in 63 regular season games and registering one assist in four postseason games. He also played in the American Hockey League in 1992-93 registering one assist in seven regular season games and three assists in seven playoff games with Baltimore.
In 2003-04 with Chicago, the 35-year-old Poapst had two goals and four points while leading all Blackhawk defensemen in average ice time (22:14). In 244 career NHL games with Chicago and Washington, Poapst has 31 points (8g-23a) and 126 penalty minutes. He signed as a free agent with Washington on February 4, 1995 and upon becoming a free agent again signed with the Blackhawks on July 27, 2000.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2003-04 and every NHL team had an ECHL player play for it in 2003-04. In 2003-04 there were 40 players that played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, surpassing the high of 27 players in 1999-2000 and 2000-01. Eleven players, including eight goaltenders, appeared in both the ECHL and the NHL in 2003-04, breaking the high of five players in 2001-02, and a total of 116 ECHL players played in the NHL in 2003-04. There have been 255 players that have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.
For the fifth consecutive year the ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup Champion with Ruslan Fedotenko, Nolan Pratt and Andre Roy as well as radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin and assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze.