ECHL represented by 41 players, 2 coaches in IIHF World Championships

The ECHL is represented by 41 players and two coaches in the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships which begin today in Minsk, Belarus.

The 41 players sets a record for most former ECHL players to appear in a single World Championships tournament. It marks the ninth time in the last 12 years that at least 30 former ECHL players have participated.

Former Wheeling Nailers coach Peter Laviolette, who earlier this week was named head coach of the Nashville Predators, is serving as the head coach for the United States, while former ECHL player and coach Don Granato, who coached Peoria to the 2000 Kelly Cup title, is one of the assistant coaches for the United States.

There is at least one former ECHL player on 15 of the 16 teams, led by Italy and Latvia with six players each. France has five former ECHL players while Belarus and Canada each have four former ECHL players on their rosters.

In addition, former ECHL referees Keith Kaval and Steve Patafie, along with current ECHL linesman Paul Carnathan, have been selected to serve as officials during the tournament.

Belarus (4)Vladimir Denisov (Johnstown, 2007-08), Kevin Lalande (Las Vegas, 2007-09), Andrei Mezin (Roanoke, 1993-94) and Geoff Platt (Atlantic City, 2004-05)

Canada (4) – Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05), James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09), Justin Peters (Florida, 2006-08) and Ben Scrivens (Reading, 2010-11)

Czech Republic (1)Jakub Petruzalek (Charlotte, 2006-07)

Denmark (1)Morten Madsen (Texas, 2007-08)

Finland (2)Tommi Kivisto (Florida, 2012-13) and Mikko Koskinen (Utah, 2009-10)

France (5)Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel (Elmira, 2011-13), Antonin Manavian (Bakersfield, 2010-11), Laurent Meunier (Florida, 2002-03), Antoine Roussel (Reading, 2010-11) and Luc Tardif (Florida, 2011-12)

Germany (3)Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13), Marcel Noebels (Trenton, 2012-13) and Rob Zepp (Florida, 2001-05)

Italy (6)David Borrelli (Cincinnati, 2006-07; Reading, 2006-07 and Fresno, 2006-07), Trevor Johnson (Peoria, 2004-05 and South Carolina, 2004-05), Thomas Larkin (Evansville, 2013-14), Davide Nicoletti (Cincinnati, 2012-13), Daniel Sullivan (Reading, 2008-09) and Dan Tudin (Columbus, 2003-04 and Las Vegas, 2004-06)

Kazakhstan (1) – Vitali Yeremeyev (Charlotte, 2000-02)

Latvia (6) – Armands Berzins (Louisiana, 2003-04 and Wheeling, 2004-05), Kristers Gudlevskis (Florida, 2013-14), Rodrigo Lavinsh (Raleigh, 1994-95 and Tallahassee, 1994-97), Jekabs Redlihs (Dayton, 2006-07 and Elmira, 2007-08), Juris Stals (Charlotte, 2004-06) and Herbert Vasiljevs (Knoxville, 1996-97)

Norway (1) – Morten Ask (Toledo, 2003-04 and Las Vegas, 2003-05)

Russia (1)Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09)

Slovakia (2)Jaroslav Janus (Florida, 2010-11) and Marek Viedensky (San Francisco, 2012-13)

Sweden (1)Daniel Rahimi (Victoria, 2007-08)

United States (3 players and 2 coaches) – Head coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98), assistant coach Don Granato (Columbus, 1991-93; 1997-99 and Peoria, 1999-00), David Leggio (Florida, 2008-09), Colin McDonald (Stockton, 2008-09) and Tim Thomas (Birmingham, 1997-98)

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 21 teams in 15 states in 2013-14. 

• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

541 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 22 in 2012-13. 

• 29 ECHL players have made their NHL debuts in 2013-14: 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.

• 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. 

• 285 ECHL players have played their first game in the last nine seasons for an average of more than 31 per year. 

• 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.

• 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. 

• 26 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma and New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano. It is the ninth consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL.

• 27 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work 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. 

• 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, 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. 

• 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

• 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 4,706 fans per game in 2013-14, the highest single-season average since 1999-2000, and marking the 10th consecutive season and the 22nd time in the last 24 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.  

• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.