Hurricanes Have Laviolette, LaRose, Stewart, Hutchinson
PRINCETON, N.J. – For the sixth consecutive year the ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup Champion with Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette, right wing Chad LaRose, defenseman Andrew Hutchinson and assistant athletic trainer Chris Stewart. Carolina defeated Edmonton 3-1 in Game 7 on Monday to win the Stanley Cup.
Laviolette becomes the first ECHL coach to have his name engraved on the historic trophy while LaRose and Hutchinson raise the number of former ECHL players on the Stanley Cup to 11. Stewart becomes the third former Johnstown Chief to be part of the Stanley Cup winner joining former Chiefs equipment manager Dana Heinzeand former Johnstown radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin, who both had their name engraved in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Carolina is owned by Peter Karmonos, Jr. who is also part owner of the Florida Everblades in the ECHL, who are the ECHL affiliate of the Hurricanes.
Laviolette began his coaching career in the ECHL in 1997-98 when he led Wheeling to the conference finals in the Kelly Cup Playoffs after finishing 37-24-9 in the regular season. He was head coach of the United States hockey team in the 2006 Olympics and was head coach of Team USA in each of the past two International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.
Signed as a free agent on Aug. 6, 2003 by the Hurricanes, the 5-foot-10 and 181-pound LaRose scored 35 points (16g-19a) in 41 regular season games and seven points (3g-4a) in 14 Kelly Cup Playoff games with the Everblades in 2003-04 while also playing in the American Hockey League with Lowell where he registered 16 points (7g-9a) in 36 games.
Stewart began his career with Johnstown in 1996-97 and spent 8 1/2 seasons with the Chiefs before being promoted to Lowell in December 2004.
Other former ECHL players whose names are on the Stanley Cup: 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). Pratt is the only ECHL player to have his name engraved twice on the Stanley Cup.
The Western Conference champion Oilers had former ECHL coaches Charlie Huddy and Geoff Ward, who are both assistant coaches for Edmonton, and former Columbus Cottonmouths defenseman Mathieu Roy. When the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, the ECHL was represented by 34 former players and seven former coaches and 15 of the 16 teams had a former ECHL player on their playoff roster.
About The ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2005-06. There have been 303 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 who have made their NHL debut in 2005-06.
The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2005-06 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.