CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks announced that they have signed former Gwinnett Gladiator and 2006 ECHL All-Star left wing Pascal Pelletier.
The Blackhawks acquired Pelletier from the Boston Bruins in exchange for 2005 ECHL All-Star Martin St. Pierre.
The Fresno Falcons are the ECHL affiliate of the Blackhawks of the NHL and the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Mike Haviland, who is one of two coaches to lead two different teams to the Kelly Championship, is an assistant coach for Chicago.
The 25-year-old Pelletier began the 2005-06 season with Gwinnett and had 30 points (18g-12a) in 21 games, earning him a selection to the ECHL All-Star Game, before being called up to Providence on Dec. 16. He had 46 points (20g-26a) in 53 regular season games and six points (2g-4a) in six playoff games for the Bruins.
He began his professional career in the ECHL in 2004-05 and had 38 points (10g-28a) in 61 games for Louisiana before being acquired by Gwinnett where he had one assist in six regular season games and two assists in five games in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Pelletier played his first NHL game on Jan. 17 against Toronto and appeared in six games for Boston. He played most of the season in the AHL where he was voted as a starter for the All-Star Game and was named First Team All-AHL and CCM/AHL Player of the Month for December. He led Providence with a career-high 37 goals and a career-best 75 points while registering a career-most 38 assists in 73 regular season games. He had a team-leading 12 points (6g-6a) in 10 playoff games.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League had affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2007-08, marking the 11th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams.
There have been 355 players who have played in the NHL after the ECHL and 210 who have made their debut in the last seven seasons.
Twenty-six former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2007-08 including six who played in both the ECHL and 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).
Former Mississippi Sea Wolves and current Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau was selected as the NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08. He is one of 14 coaches with an ECHL background working behind an NHL bench including former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.
The ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup for the eighth consecutive year with Aaron Downey, who played his first two professional seasons with Hampton Roads, becomes the 14th former player to be a part of a NHL championship team.