The ECHL has 49 former players and 14 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It is the ninth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 11th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
The ECHL has been represented on the last 13 Stanley Cup champions and there are 31 ECHL alums who have their name engraved on the Stanley Cup: 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); assistant coach Jamie Kompon, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan 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 vice president Al 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); Ruslan Fedotenko, Nolan Pratt and Andre Roy (Tampa Bay – 2004); Corey Schwab (New Jersey – 2003); Manny Legace (Detroit – 2002); David Aebischer and Nolan Pratt (Colorado – 2001); Krzysztof Oliwa (New Jersey – 2000) and Kevin Dean (New Jersey – 1995).
It is the 10th straight year that the ECHL has been represented by at least six coaches, and the seventh straight year that there have been at least 13 coaches with ECHL ties in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma, who played in the ECHL with Greensboro in 1993-94 and in 2009 led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship and Anaheim’s Bruce Boudreau, who coached Mississippi to the Kelly Cup title in 1999 and became the first ECHL coach to win the Jack Adams Award as NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 with Washington.
Other former ECHL coaches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs include former Arkansas head coach Geoff Ward, who was part of Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup championship team and Los Angeles assistant coach Davis Payne, who led Alaska to the Kelly Cup title in 2006.
Twenty-nine former ECHL players made their NHL debuts this season, the most since 2009-10: former Reading Royals Will Acton (Edmonton on Oct. 1), former Kalamazoo Wings left wing Darren Archibald (Vancouver on Oct. 25), former Columbia Inferno, Charlotte Checkers, Greenville Road Warriors and Reading Royals defenseman Julien Brouillette (Washington on Feb. 6), former Colorado Eagles defensemen Ben Chiarot (Winnipeg on Nov. 2) former San Francisco Bulls left wing Jamie Devane (Toronto on Oct. 5), former Elmira Jackals and Reading Royals left wing Brett Gallant (New York Islanders on April 8), former Idaho Steelheads left wing Luke Gazdic (Edmonton on Oct. 1), former Toledo Walleye center Luke Glendening (Detroit on Oct. 12), former Wheeling Nailers defenseman Alex Grant (Anaheim on Nov. 30), former Florida Everblades goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis (Tampa Bay on April 11), former Trenton Titans goaltender Cal Heeter (Philadelphia on April 12), former Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender Magnus Hellberg (Nashville on Oct. 26), former Reading Royals and Ontario Reign goaltender Michael Hutchinson (Winnipeg on April 7), former Alaska Aces, Idaho Steelheads, Utah Grizzlies and Cincinnati Cyclones right wing Justin Johnson (New York Islanders on April 11), former Ontario Reign goaltender Martin Jones (Los Angeles on Dec. 3), former Greenville Road Warriors, Florida Everblades and Alaska Aces goaltender Connor Knapp (Buffalo on April 11), former Toledo Walleye forward Peter Leblanc (Washington on April 12), former Greenville Road Warriors goaltender Nathan Lieuwen (Buffalo on March 16) former Alaska Aces goaltender Joni Ortio (Calgary on Feb. 27), former Wheeling Nailers center Adam Payerl (Pittsburgh on April 6), former Wheeling Nailers defenseman Philip Samuelsson (Pittsburgh on Dec. 16), former Wheeling Nailers center Zach Sill (Pittsburgh on Nov. 16), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Kent Simpson (Chicago on Dec. 14), former Greenville Road Warriors goaltender Cam Talbot (New York Rangers on Oct. 24), former Cincinnati Cyclones center and 2010 Kelly Cup champion Mark Van Guilder (Nashville on March 30), former Gwinnett Gladiators goaltender Mark Visentin (Phoenix on April 12), former Reading Royals defenseman Patrick Wey (Washington on Dec. 7), former Cincinnati Cyclones forward Garrett Wilson (Florida on March 18) and former Ontario Reign goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (Pittsburgh on Oct. 11).
Seven players have played in the ECHL and NHL in 2013-14: John Curry with Orlando and Minnesota, Kristers Gudlevskis with Florida and Tampa Bay, Magnus Hellberg with Cincinnati and Nashville, Michael Hutchinson with Ontario and Winnipeg, Connor Knapp with Greenville, Florida, Alaska and Buffalo, Joni Ortio with Alaska and Calgary and Patrick Wey with Reading and Washington. Gudlevskis became the first player to play in the ECHL, AHL, Olympics and NHL in the same season.
The ECHL had a record 93 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2013-14, surpassing the 87 from 2012-13 and marking the 11th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams in 2013-14, marking the 17th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 541 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 29 in 2013-14. The ECHL has had 349 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 285 ECHL players who have played their first game in the last nine seasons for an average of more than 31 per year.
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 are 29 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano and Florida Panthers 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 were 27 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2013-14 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.
Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Former ECHL coaches and players in Stanley Cup Playoffs (ECHL affiliate in parentheses):
Anaheim Ducks (Utah Grizzlies) – Head coach Bruce Boudreau (Mississippi, 1996-99), assistant coach Bob Woods (Johnstown, 1990-94; Hampton Roads, 1995-96; Mobile, 1996-97; Tallahassee, 1997-98 and Mississippi, 1998-05), Francois Beauchemin (Mississippi, 2001-02) and Daniel Winnik (Phoenix, 2006-07)
Boston Bruins (South Carolina Stingrays) – Assistant coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-00)
Chicago Blackhawks (Toledo Walleye) – Assistant coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91) and Sheldon Brookbank (Mississippi, 2001-02)
Colorado Avalanche – Patrick Bordeleau (Charlotte, 2007-08; Wheeling, 2007-08; Pensacola, 2007-08; Augusta, 2008-09 and Florida, 2008-09), Cody McLeod (San Diego, 2005-06) and P.A. Parenteau (Augusta, 2005-06)
Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Goaltending coach Mike Valley (Augusta, 1998-00; Louisiana, 1999-01; Wheeling, 2002-03 and Peoria, 2003-04), Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2008-09), Vernon Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02), Ryan Garbutt (Gwinnett, 2010-11), Chris Mueller (Johnstown, 2008-09 and Cincinnati, 2009-10), Antoine Roussel (Reading, 2010-11) and Tim Thomas (Birmingham, 1997-98)
Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-00; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2004-07), Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13), Dwight King (Ontario, 2009-10 and 2012-13), Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13), Jordan Nolan (Ontario, 2009-10) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)
Minnesota Wild (Orlando Solar Bears) – John Curry (Las Vegas, 2007-08; Wheeling, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-14), Darcy Kuemper (Ontario, 2011-12 and Orlando, 2012-13) and Torrey Mitchell (San Francisco, 2012-13)
Montreal Canadiens (Wheeling Nailers) – Assistant coach J.J. Daigneault (Phoenix (2005-06), Francis Bouillon (Wheeling, 1996-97), David Desharnais (Cincinnati, 2007-08) and George Parros (Reading, 2004-05)
New York Rangers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Assistant coach Daniel Lacroix (Atlantic City, 2001-02), video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92), Daniel Carcillo (Wheeling, 2005-06), Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06) and Cameron Talbot (Greenville, 2010-11)
Philadelphia Flyers – Jason Akeson (Trenton, 2012-13), Cal Heeter (Trenton, 2012-13), Andrew MacDonald (Utah, 2007-08), Jay Rosehill (Johnstown, 2005-07 and Mississippi, 2007-08) and Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-00)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Head coach Dan Bylsma (Greensboro, 1992-94), assistant coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-95 and Jacksonville, 1995-96), goalie development coach Mike Buckley (Mississippi, 2002-04 and Gwinnett, 2003-04), Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07), Tomas Vokoun (Wheeling, 1995-96) and Jeff Zatkoff (Ontario, 2008-09)
San Jose Sharks – Goaltender coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92), assistant coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson, 1999-00), Andrew Desjardins (Phoenix, 2008-09), Bracken Kearns (Toledo, 2005-06 and Reading, 2007-08) and Alex Stalock (Stockton, 2011-12)
Tampa Bay Lightning (Florida Everblades) – B.J. Crombeen (Idaho, 2005-07 and Orlando, 2012-13), Kristers Gudlevskis (Florida, 2013-14), Tom Pyatt (Charlotte, 2007-08) and Nate Thompson (Alaska, 2012-13)
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.
• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 22 teams in 15 states in 2013-14.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2013-14 and for the past 24 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.