ECHL Today – Dec. 30

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Preview of ECHL Games for Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009

Johnstown Chiefs (8-16-6) at Trenton Devils (10-14-7) 7 p.m. ET
• Trenton’s Dave Caruso is 2-0-0 with a goals-against average of 2.00 against Johnstown.
• Chiefs are fifth in the league on the power play with 18.8 percent (29-for-154).
Jeff Prough leads the Devils in December with 11 points and is tied for team lead with five goals and six points.
• Johnstown defenseman Chris Zarb has three goals and five points in his last four games.

Wheeling Nailers (15-15-2) at Reading Royals (18-11-3) 7:05 p.m. ET
• Reading defenseman Eric Werner has five assists and six points in his last seven games.
• Nailers’ rookie defenseman Kevin Schmidt has a six-game point streak (2g-5a) and a three-game assist streak (4a).
• Royals’ Olivier Labelle has three goals and four points in his last three games.
• Wheeling rookie Casey Pierro-Zabotel has four assists and six points in his last five games.

Victoria Salmon Kings (14-13-3) at Utah Grizzlies (15-10-2) 7:05 p.m. MT
• Utah leads the league with 37 power-play goals and on the power play with 23.3 percent (37-for-159).
• Salmon Kings’ Wes Goldie has a three-game goal streak (4g) and 11 points (9g-2a) in his last eight games.
• Grizzlies’ Tom May has a five-game point streak (3g-3a) and a two-game goal streak (2g).
• Victoria defenseman Jimmy Sharrow has a five-game point streak (3g-4a).

Ontario Reign (13-15-3) at Alaska Aces (11-16-2) 7:15 p.m. AT
• Alaska’s Alexandre Imbeault has four goals and eight points in his last five games.
• Ontario’s Curtis Darling is 1-0-0 with a shutout against the Aces.
• Aces’ Colin Hemingway has a three-game point streak (1g-4a) and a two-game assist streak (4a).
• Reign’s Jon Francisco has four goals and seven points in his last seven games.

Watch Games Live on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider” of the ECHL

Watch ECHL Games Around The Clock On ECHL TV on B2CableTV.com

Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 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 20 teams in 15 states and British Columbia in 2009-10.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
428 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including a record 52 in 2008-09.
• 21 ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season: former Charlotte Checkers and Reading Royals defenseman Dean Arsene (Edmonton on Nov. 16), former Augusta, Greenville, Pensacola and Toledo goaltender Mike Brodeur (Ottawa on Dec. 19), former Gwinnett Gladiators and 2006 ECHL All-Star right wing Guillaume Desbiens (Vancouver on Oct. 11), former Cincinnati Cyclones center and 2008 ECHL Most Valuable Player David Desharnais (Montreal on Nov. 25), former Stockton Thunder and 2007 ECHL All-Star goaltender Devin Dubnyk (Edmonton on Nov. 28), former Las Vegas Wranglers, Reading Royals and South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Deryk Engelland (Pittsburgh on Nov. 10), former Louisiana IceGators defenseman Maxime Fortunus (Dallas on Dec. 19), former Idaho Steelheads center Aaron Gagnon (Dallas on Oct. 16), former Victoria Salmon Kings defenseman Shaun Heshka (Phoenix on Nov. 7), former Wheeling Nailers right wing David Laliberte (Philadelphia on Oct. 31), former Wheeling Nailers center Mark Letestu (Pittsburgh on Nov. 14), former Stockton Thunder right wing Colin McDonald (Edmonton on Nov. 27), former Stockton Thunder center Ryan O’Marra (Edmonton on Nov. 10), former Reading Royals right wing Scott Parse (Los Angeles on Oct. 24), former Charlotte Checkers center Tom Pyatt (Montreal on Nov. 5), former Johnstown Chiefs defenseman Jay Rosehill (Toronto on Oct. 1), former Bakersfield Condors right wing Dan Sexton (Anaheim on Dec. 5), former Bakersfield Condors center MacGregor Sharp (Anaheim on Nov. 19), former Idaho Steelheads left wing Francis Wathier (Dallas on Oct. 21), former South Carolina Stingrays center Kyle Wilson (Washington on Dec. 15) and former Cincinnati Cyclones right wing J.T. Wyman (Montreal on Nov. 24).
• 3 players have played in the ECHL and the NHL this season: Kyle Calder with Bakersfield and Anaheim, Dan Sexton with Bakersfield and Anaheim and MacGregor Sharp with Bakersfield and Anaheim.
• The ECHL has had 234 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.
• 170 ECHL players have played their first game in the last five seasons for an average of 34 per year.
• ECHL had a record 78 players on NHL opening-day rosters, surpassing the 71 from a year ago and marking the seventh year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• Every ECHL team has an affiliation with an NHL team and the league has affiliations with 28 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 13th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 27 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau, New York Islanders head coach Scott Gordon and Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette while former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is head coach of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It is the fifth 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.
• 20 former ECHL officials are working as part of the NHL officiating team in 2009-10 with referees David Banfield, Francis Charron, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Herbert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Bryan Pancich, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the ninth year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion with Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma, player Ruslan Fedotenko, equipment managers Dana Heinze and Dave Zeigler, athletic trainers Chris Stewart and Scott Adams and scout Derek Clancey. There were 43 former players and 14 former coaches on 15 of the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the fourth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the sixth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• Former ECHL and current Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas was the recipient of the Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in the NHL and was also presented the William Jennings Trophy with teammate Manny Fernandez as the goaltenders finishing the season having surrendered the fewest goals. Thomas was also named First Team All-NHL after registering a career-high 36 wins while leading the NHL with a goals-against average of 2.10 and a save percentage of .933 to help the Bruins finish with the most wins (53) and points (116) since 1971-72.
• ECHL was represented in the 2009 NHL All-Star Game by Mark Streit of the New York Islanders and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins while former ECHL players Dan Ellis, Jonathan Quick and Tomas Vokoun were all selected as recipients of the NHL’s “Three Stars” award in 2008-09.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League 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, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Bob McElligott and John Michael of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Rob Simpson, who is a producer/host for The NHL Network.
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 and Kelly Murray are now with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals, respectively, while former ECHL director of communications Jason Rothwell is the creative director for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 20 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
• In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,500 call-ups involving more than 1,300 players and in 2008-09 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,258 fans per game in 2008-09 and is the only minor professional hockey league to increase average attendance each of the last two seasons. It is the fifth consecutive season and the 17th time in the last 19 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans and the league drew over 3 million fans for the 16th year in a row and reached the 3 million mark in the fewest number of games since 2005-06.
• There have been more than 75 million fans who have attended over 17,000 games since the ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states.
• The Ontario Reign, the City of Ontario and Citizens Business Bank Arena will host the 18th Annual ECHL All-Star Game presented by Reebok Hockey on Jan. 20, 2010 and the 13th Annual All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 19, 2010.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.