COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Blue Jackets have exercised the contract option on right wing Kent McDonell, who began his professional career with Dayton of the ECHL. Columbus is the NHL affiliate of Dayton.
In his rookie season in 2001-02, the 6-0 and 200-pound McDonell scored 25 points (16g-9a) in 28 regular season games while also appearing in three Kelly Cup Playoffs games for the Bombers. He also played with Syracuse of the American Hockey League in 2001-02 scoring six points (3g-3a) in 32 regular season games and one point (1g-0a) in three postseason games.
The 25-year-old McDonell played in both the NHL and the AHL in 2003-04, scoring three points (1g-2a) in 29 games with Columbus and 48 points (17g-31a) in 51 games with Syracuse. Selected by the Carolina Hurricanes in the ninth round (225th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft and by the Detroit Red Wings in the sixth round (181st overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, McDonell was acquired by Columbus from Detroit for a sixth round pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He has scored three points (1g-2a) in 32 career NHL games and 123 points (52g-71a) in 227 career AHL games.
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 115 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.
There were former ECHL coaches behind the benches of 14 of the 28 teams in the American Hockey League and all 28 teams in the AHL had an ECHL player take the ice for them in 2003-04. The ECHL had affiliation agreements with 21 of the 28 teams in the AHL and there were over 90 players on AHL contracts in the ECHL in 2003-04. There were more than 220 players that played in both the ECHL and the AHL in 2003-04 and the ECHL had 425 call-ups, involving 234 players, to the AHL during the regular season.
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 had eight players and radio announcer Kyle Schultz, who are all alumni of the ECHL.