Inaugural Class Selection, Induction Scheduled
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL proudly announces that, as part of the 20th Anniversary celebration in 2007-08, it will introduce the ECHL Hall of Fame.
The first induction class will be announced in October and will be honored during the festivities at the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game hosted by the Stockton Thunder and the City of Stockton at Stockton Arena on Jan. 23, 2008.
“From humble beginnings the ECHL has grown to become one of the most well-respected and recognized entities in professional sports,” said Commissioner Brian McKenna. “The time has come to recognize the individuals who have contributed to that growth and made the league what it is today. The occasion of our 20th Anniversary presents a unique opportunity to introduce our Hall of Fame.”
The third-longest tenured professional hockey league, behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League has grown from five teams in four states in 1988-89 into a coast-to-coast league with 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08.
ECHL fans will be able to visit the Hall of Fame around the clock as it will be housed online, opening as part of the ECHL Network in conjunction with the ceremonies in January. The inductees will also be recognized at both the ECHL office in Princeton, N.J. and in the ECHL section at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
The logo is a maroon shield outlined in white and grey that has “Hall of Fame” and the ECHL logo in white. Joe Bosack, president and founder of The Joe Bosack Graphic Design Company, designed the logo. Bosack also designed the ECHL logo, the Kelly Cup Playoffs logo, the 15th Anniversary logo, the 20th Anniversary logo as well as the logos for the ECHL All-Star Games each of the past five years.
Hall of Fame members will be selected in four categories: Player, Developmental Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. Players must have concluded their career as an active player for a minimum of five playing seasons, though not continuous or full seasons. Development Players must have began their career in the ECHL and went on to a distinguished career in the NHL, playing a minimum of 260 regular season games in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. Builders may be active or inactive whereas Referee/Linesman must have concluded their active officiating career for a minimum of three playing seasons.
No more than five candidates may be elected to the ECHL Hall of Fame each year with no more than three Players, one Developmental Player, two Builders and one Referee/Linesman. The Builder and the Referee/Linesman categories are dependent upon the number of candidates in the Player category.
The nomination and/or selection of candidates will be determined by the ECHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee which will be appointed by the ECHL.
Only members of the Selection Committee, the Board of Governors or teams in the ECHL may submit official nominations which must be made in writing to the league office. Fans are encouraged to contact their team to propose names for nomination. Selection criteria will be announced and nomination forms will be distributed to teams at a later date.
The ECHL is the primary resource for player development as evidenced by the fact that in the last five seasons there have been over 2,000 call ups to the AHL involving more than 1,000 players which is more than all other professional leagues combined. In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players.
There have been 329 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 184 who have played their first game in the NHL in the last five seasons. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League, marking the 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08, including the Mississippi (Biloxi) Sea Wolves, who return after missing two seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary Season will be Oct. 18 when the Johnstown Chiefs host the Wheeling Nailers at Cambria County War Memorial. The game is a rematch of Game 7 from the first-ever ECHL Finals played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cambria County War Memorial. The two teams will wear throwback jerseys for the Opening Day game that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast worldwide on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider” of the ECHL. The remaining teams will open their seasons the weekend of Oct. 19-21.
In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players.
In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.