The ECHL announced on Tuesday that 14 ECHL on-ice officials, along with Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Ernst and Supervisor Mike Pearce, will work the 2013 NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City, Mich. from Sept. 5-9.
Debuting in 1988 with four teams, the NHL Prospects Tournament has expanded to now include eight clubs – Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues. Teams are divided into two divisions for a three-day round robin tournament, then ranked by their win-loss records for final placement in seventh, fifth, third and Championship games on the final day.
Ernst will be responsible for the selection and scheduling of the officials for each game of the tournament. The officiating staff for the tournament includes eight referees and six linesmen who will work in the ECHL during the 2013-14 season. Pearce will assist in supervising the officials during the tournament.
“The Detroit Red Wings do an outstanding job of hosting this tournament each year, and it is an honor for the ECHL and our staff to be working such a well-respected tournament as Traverse City,” Ernst said. “It will provide our officials excellent experience going into the season as these players are competing for roster spots with their respective NHL clubs. It also allows me and Mike to be able to spend time teaching our officials as well as spend time with them prior to our training camp and season which is invaluable.”
ECHL officials who will work during the Prospects Tournament include referees Don Jablonski (3rd season with the ECHL), Fred Leblanc (5th season with ECHL), Chris Pitoscia (2nd season with the ECHL), Stephen Reneau (1st season with the ECHL), Brett Sheva (2nd season with the ECHL), Peter Tarnaris (1st season with the ECHL), Andy Thackaberry (3rd season with ECHL) and Andrew Wilk (2nd season with the ECHL) as well as linesmen Ryan Daisy (2nd season with ECHL), Francois Dussureault (1st season with ECHL), Shaun Morgan (2nd season with ECHL), Jesse Pletsch (1st season with ECHL), Patrick Richardson (1st season with ECHL) and Jim Scarpace (7th season with the ECHL).
There were 26 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, 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.
McCauley and Rooney were selected as two of the four referees to work during the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.
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.
• 512 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.
• 22 ECHL players made their NHL debuts in 2012-13: former Trenton Titans right wing Jason Akeson (Philadelphia on April 27), former Gwinnett Gladiators forward Matt Anderson (New Jersey on Jan. 29), former Stockton Thunder center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Mark Arcobello (Edmonton on Feb. 6), former Utah Grizzlies defenseman and 2010 ECHL All-Star Victor Bartley (Nashville on March 8), former Charlotte Checkers, Wheeling Nailers, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Florida Everblades and Augsuta Lynx left wing Patrick Bordeleau (Colorado on Jan. 19), former Cincinnati Cyclones forward Cory Conacher (Tampa Bay on Jan. 19), former Trenton Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee (New Jersey on March 9), former South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals goaltender and 2013 ECHL All-Star Philipp Grubauer (Washington on Feb. 27), former Cincinnati Cyclones left wing Kevin Henderson (Nashville on April 19), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Carter Hutton (Chicago on April 27), former Trenton Titans defenseman Matt Konan (Philadelphia on April 25), former Ontario Reign and Orlando Solar Bears goaltender Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota on Feb. 12), former Toledo Walleye defenseman Brian Lashoff (Detroit on Jan. 21), former Toledo Walleye goaltender Petr Mrazek (Detroit on Feb. 7), former Las Vegas Wranglers, Toledo Walleye and Idaho Steelheads defenseman Steve Oleksy (Washington on March 5), former Alaska Aces right wing Anthony Peluso (Winnipeg on Feb. 12), former South Carolina Stingrays center Steve Pinizzotto (Vancouver on March 14), former Ontario Reign right wing Jon Rheault (Florida on March 5), former Reading Royals left wing Antoine Roussel (Dallas on Feb. 1), former Florida Everblades right wing Jared Staal (Carolina on April 25), former Wheeling Nailers center and 2011 ECHL All-Star Ben Street (Calgary on Feb. 9) and former Toledo Storm right wing and 2007 ECHL All-Star Jamie Tardif (Boston on Feb. 2).
• The ECHL has had 320 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.
• 256 ECHL players have played their first game in the last eight seasons for an average of 32 per year.
• ECHL had a record 87 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2012-13, surpassing the 81 from 2011-12 and marking the 10th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 28 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 and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.
• 26 former ECHL officials worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, 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.
• ECHL was represented for the 13th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2013 with Chicago Blackhaws 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. The ECHL was represented by 53 former players and 18 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the eighth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 10th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, 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.
• In the last nine seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined 4,000 with over call-ups involving more than 2,100 players and in 2012-13 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,695 fans per game in 2012-13, the highest single-season average since 1999-2000, and marking the ninth consecutive season and the 21st time in the last 23 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.