The ECHL has 38 former players and 11 coaches on 15 of the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It is the 10th year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 12th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 14 Stanley Cup champions and there are 36 ECHL alums who have their name engraved on the Stanley Cup: assistant coach Davis Payne; players Kyle Clifford, Trevor Lewis, Martin Jones, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick; manager of communications and broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti (Los Angeles – 2014); assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Sheldon Brookbank and Daniel Carcillo, vice president/assistant to the president Al MacIsaac director of pro scouting Ryan Stewart and general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard (Chicago – 2013); Kompon, King, Nolan and Quick (Los Angeles – 2012); assistant coach Geoff Ward, Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder and Tim Thomas (Boston – 2011); assistant coach Mike Haviland, associate coach John Torchetti and MacIsaac (Chicago – 2010); head coach Dan Bylsma and Ruslan Fedotenko (Pittsburgh – 2009); Aaron Downey (Detroit – 2008); assistant coach Dave Farrish, Francois Beauchemin and George Parros (Anaheim – 2007); head coach Peter Laviolette, Andrew Hutchinson and Chad LaRose (Carolina – 2006); Fedotenko, Nolan Pratt and Andre Roy (Tampa Bay – 2004); Corey Schwab (New Jersey – 2003); Manny Legace (Detroit – 2002); David Aebischer and Pratt (Colorado – 2001); Krzysztof Oliwa (New Jersey – 2000) and Kevin Dean (New Jersey – 1995).
It is the 11th straight year that the ECHL has been represented by at least six coaches.
There have been 569 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 28 who made their NHL debuts in the 2014-15 season. The ECHL has had 377 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years. There have been 313 ECHL players who have played their first game in the last 10 seasons for an average of more than 31 per year.
Six players have played in the ECHL and NHL in 2014-15: Tyler Bunz with Wichita and Edmonton, John Curry with Quad City and Minnesota, Louis Domingue with Gwinnett and Arizona, Chris Driedger with Evansville and Ottawa, Brett Kulak with Colorado and Calgary and Mackenzie Skapski with Greenville and the New York Rangers.
The ECHL had 72 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2014-15 marking the 12th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters. The ECHL has affiliations with 29 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender and current Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990. The 100th player honor is shared by Jean Sebastien Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006. The 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs while the 500th player honor is shared by Anthony Peluso and Darcy Kuemper, who both made their debut on Feb. 12, 2013 with the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, respectively.
There were 22 coaches with an ECHL background who worked behind the benches of NHL teams in 2014-15 including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano and Toronto Maples Leafs interim head coach Peter Horachek. It is the ninth consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL.
There are 27 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2014-15 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Former ECHL coaches and players in Stanley Cup Playoffs (ECHL affiliate in parentheses):
Calgary Flames (Colorado Eagles) – Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07); Michael Ferland (Utah, 2012-13); Joni Ortio (Alaska, 2013-14) and Corey Potter (Charlotte, 2006-07)
New York Islanders (Stockton Thunder) – Head coach Jack Capuano (Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-05); goaltending coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06); Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05); Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06); Colin McDonald (Stockton, 2008-09) and Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina, 2008-09)
New York Rangers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92); Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06) and Cam Talbot (Greenville, 2010-11)
Ottawa Senators (Evansville IceMen) – Mike Hoffman (Elmira, 2010-11) and Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-00)
St. Louis Blues (Alaska Aces) – Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13)
Vancouver Canucks (Kalamazoo Wings) – Assistant coach Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas, 2003-09) and Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05
Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Assistant coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-96 and Jacksonville, 1995-96); Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07); Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13); Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10) and Justin Peters (Florida, 2006-08)
Winnipeg Jets (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1997-98); assistant coach Pascal Vincent (Knoxville, 1992-93); goaltending coach Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90); Ben Chiarot (Colorado, 2011-12); Michael Hutchinson (Reading, 2010-12 and Ontario, 2013-14); Adam Pardy (Las Vegas, 2005-06); Anthony Peluso (Alaska, 2009-10) and Mark Stuart (Florida, 2012-13)