ECHL Today – March 26

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*The Florida Everblades clinched a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with last night’s win over Charlotte.

Toledo Walleye (33-27-6) at Johnstown Chiefs (16-40-11) 7:05 p.m. ET
Evan Rankin leads Toledo against the Chiefs with six goals and 14 points.
• Rookie Connor Shields leads Johnstown with 59 points (26g-33a).
• Toledo is 6-0-0 against the Chiefs this season.
• Johnstown is 13-0-2 when leading after two periods.

Reading Royals (34-27-5) at South Carolina Stingrays (38-18-12) 7:05 p.m. ET
• Reading’s Ryan Cruthers is on a four-game goal streak (5) since March 18.
• South Carolina’s Shane Connelly leads the league with four shutouts.
• The Royals are tied for second in the league with 13 shorthand goals.
• The Stingrays are 24-3-4 when scoring first.

Trenton Devils (29-29-9) at Elmira Jackals (35-23-8) 7:35 p.m. ET
Jeff Prough leads Trenton against the Jackals with seven goals and 10 points.
Justin Donati leads Elmira against the Devils with 16 points (5g-11a).
• Trenton is 7-3-0 against the Jackals this season.
• The Jackals average a league-high 3.91 goals-per-game.

Kalamazoo Wings (39-19-8) at Wheeling Nailers (31-31-6) 7:35 p.m. ET
Sam Ftorek leads Kalamazoo against the Nailers with nine points (4g-5a).
TJ Fox leads Wheeling against the K-Wings with seven goals and 16 points.
• Kalamazoo is 12-2-1 in its last 15 games.
• Wheeling’s Mitch Ganzak is second among league defensemen with 46 points (8g-38a).

Bakersfield Condors (34-27-5) at Utah Grizzlies (31-28-8) 7:05 p.m. MT
• Bakersfield’s Timo Pielmeier is tied for third in the league with 23 wins.
• Utah’s Ryan Kinasewich leads the league with 44 goals.
• The Condors are 22-1-1 when leading after two periods.
• Utah has the league’s best power play on home ice converting at 25.0 percent (47-for-188).

Victoria Salmon Kings (32-29-6) at Idaho Steelheads (46-15-5) 7:10 p.m. MT
Wes Goldie leads Victoria against the Steelheads with six goals and eight points.
• Idaho’s Rejean Beauchemin is tied for the league lead with 25 wins.
• The Salmon Kings are 23-1-3 when leading after two periods.
• The Steelheads are second in the league in both goals-per-game (3.76) and goals-against-per-game (2.74).

Alaska Aces (32-26-8) at Ontario Reign (29-28-10) 7:30 p.m. PT
Scott Reid leads Alaska against the Regin with a 4-0-2 record, a 2.40 goals-against average and a save percentage of .921.
Mike Egener leads Ontario against the Aces with eight points (2g-6a).
• The Aces are 19-1-1 when leading after two periods.
• Reign’s David Walker is tied for second among league defensemen with 34 assists.

Las Vegas Wranglers (31-28-7) at Stockton Thunder (30-26-9) 7:30 p.m. PT
Alex Bourret leads Las Vegas against the Thunder with four goals and seven points.
James Bates leads Stockton with 63 points (25g-38a).
• Las Vegas’ Adam Miller has a 14-game point streak (14g-17a) since Feb. 26.
• Thunder’s Andrew Perugini leads the league with a .911 save percentage.

Kelly Cup Playoffs Update

Elmira can clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on Friday if:

Elmira wins

Idaho can clinch the Brabham Cup on Friday if:

Idaho wins


Idaho loses in overtime/shootout


Kalamazoo loses in regulation


Kalamazoo loses in overtime/shootout

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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.
435 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including a record 53 in 2008-09.
• 27 ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season. The most recent are: former Idaho Steelheads left wing Richard Clune (Los Angeles on Feb. 11), former Wheeling Nailers right wing Nick Johnson (Pittsburgh on Jan. 21), former Florida and 2008 ECHL All-Star goaltender Anton Khudobin (Feb. 4 with Minnesota), former Florida Everblades and 2008 ECHL All-Star goaltender Justin Peters (Carolina on Feb. 6) and former Charlotte Checkers and Idaho Steelheads goaltender Matt Zaba (New York Rangers on Jan. 23).
• 4 players have played in the ECHL and the NHL this season: Kyle Calder with Bakersfield and Anaheim, Dan Sexton with Bakersfield and Anaheim, MacGregor Sharp with Bakersfield and Anaheim and Matt Zaba with Charlotte and the New York Rangers.
• The ECHL has had 243 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.
• 179 ECHL players have played their first game in the last five seasons for an average of more than 35 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.
• 29 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, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Claude Noel and St. Louis Blues interim head coach Davis Payne 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.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at