WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed left wing Graham Mink, who was one of the 40 players in 2003-04 that played in the NHL for the first time after playing in the ECHL, surpassing the high of 27 players in 1999-2000 and 2000-01.
Signed as a free agent by Washington on April 9, 2002, the 6-3 and 217-pound Mink scored 17 points (8g-9a) in 29 games with Richmond in 2001-02 while also scoring 34 points (17g-17a) in 56 games with Portland of the American Hockey League.
The 25-year-old Mink had two penalty minutes in two games with the Capitals in 2003-04 while scoring 37 points (18g-19a) in 68 regular season games with Portland.
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. 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.
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.