The ECHL has 66 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, marking the 17th season in a row with more than 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has former players on 27 of the 31 teams and has affiliations with 27 of the 31 teams in the NHL, marking the 21st consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There are 40 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan, Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar, Florida Panthers head coach Bob Bougher, Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau and Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette. It is the 13th consecutive season that there have been 12 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons and won 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.
There are 31 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2017-18 with referees Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Pierre Lambert, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, 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, Ryan Daisy, Brandon Gawryletz, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Bevin Mills, Kory Nagy, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
There have been who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 24 who made their debuts in 2016-17. The ECHL has had 431 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. There have been 367 ECHL players have played their first game in the last 12 seasons for an average of more than 30 per year.
There were four players who played in both the ECHL and NHL in 2016-17: Chris Driedger with Wichita and Ottawa, Marek Langhamer and Rapid City and Arizona Zane McIntyre with Atlanta and Boston and Alex Nedeljkovic with Florida and Carolina.
The ECHL was represented for the 17th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2017 with Pittsburgh Penguins’ players Josh Archibald, Tom Kuhnhackl, Carter Rowney and Mark Streit; goalie development coach Mike Buckley; Vice President of Hockey Operations Jason Karmanos; Director of Pro Scouting Derek Clancey; Amateur Scouts Ryan Bowness and Warren Young; Head Athletic Trainer Chris Stewart and Head Equipment Manager Dana Heinze. There were 49 former players and 16 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2017, marking the 12th year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 14th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990. The 100th player honor is shared by Jean Sebastien Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006. The 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs while the 500th player honor is shared by Anthony Peluso and Darcy Kuemper, who both made their debut on Feb. 12, 2013 with the Winnipeg Jets and the Minnesota Wild, respectively. The 600th former ECHL player to reach the NHL was Florida Panthers forward Shane Harper on Oct. 13, 2016.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Doug Plagens of the Florida Panthers, Brendan Burke of the New York Islanders, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dave Goucher and Dan D’Uva of the Vegas Golden Knights. Former ECHL player Jody Shelley is an analyst with the Blue Jackets.
Former ECHL coaches and players on NHL Opening-Day Rosters (ECHL affiliate listed in parentheses):
(*) – Injured Reserve
Anaheim Ducks (Utah Grizzlies) – Assistant Coach Mark Morrison (Victoria, 2006-11); Francois Beauchemin (Mississippi, 2001-02) and Logan Shaw (Cincinnati, 2013-14)
Arizona Coyotes (Fort Wayne Komets) – Assistant Coach Scott Allen (Carolina, 1988-89; Winston-Salem, 1989-90; Erie, 1989-90; Greensboro, 1989-90, Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Johnstown, 1996-02); Goaltending Coach (Prospects) Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92) and Louis Domingue (Gwinnett, 2012-15)
Boston Bruins (Atlanta Gladiators) – Head Coach Bruce Cassidy (Jacksonville, 1996-98 and Trenton, 1999-00); Assistant Coach Kevin Dean (Cincinnati, 1991-92 and Trenton, 2010-11) and Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09)
Buffalo Sabres (Cincinnati Cyclones) –Associate Coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-2000; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2003-07); Assistant Coach Chris Hajt (Augusta, 2004-05); Goaltending Coach Andrew Allen (Dayton, 2000-01 and 2002-03; Macon, 2001-02; Jackson, 2001-02 and Trenton, 2002-05; Goaltending Development Coach Seamus Kotyk (Augusta, 2005-06) and Jordan Nolan (Ontario, 2009-10)
Carolina Hurricanes (Florida Everblades) – Scott Darling (Florida, 2011-12; Wheeling, 2012-13 and Cincinnati, 2013-14)
Chicago Blackhawks (Indy Fuel) – Assistant Coach Don Granato (Columbus, 1991-93 and 1997-99 and Peoria, 1999-00)
Colorado Avalanche (Colorado Eagles) – Head Coach Jared Bednar (Huntington, 1993-96 and South Carolina, 1996-09); Assistant Coach Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 1995-96) and Sergei Boikov * (Colorado, 2016-17)
Columbus Blue Jackets – Brandon Dubinsky (Alaska, 2012-13)
Detroit Red Wings (Toledo Walleye) – Assistant Coach John Torchetti (Carolina, 1988-89; Winston-Salem, 1989-91; and Greensboro, 1993-95); Assistant Coach Pat Ferschweller (Roanoke, 1993-95); Goaltending Coach Jeff Salajko (Columbus, 1996-99, Arkansas, 1999-02; Reading, 2001-02; Peoria, 2001-02 and Charlotte, 2001-03); Martin Frk (Toledo, 2013-15); Luke Glendening (Toledo, 2012-13) and Petr Mrazek (Toledo, 2012-13)
Edmonton Oilers (Wichita Thunder) – Assistant Coach Ian Herbers (Johnstown, 2007-09); Assistant Coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson (1999-00); Laurent Brossoit (Alaska, 2013-14 and Bakersfield, 2013-14); Mark Letestu (Wheeling, 2007-08) and Cam Talbot (Greenville, 2010-11)
Florida Panthers – Head Coach Bob Boughner (Toledo, 1991-92); Associate Coach Jack Capuano (Tallahassee, 1996-97; Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-05); Goaltending Coach Rob Tallas (Charlotte, 1994-95); Micheal Haley (South Carolina, 2006-07 and Utah, 2007-08); James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09) and MacKenzie Weegar (Cincinnati, 2013-14)
Los Angeles Kings (Manchester Monarchs) – Developmental Goaltending Coach Dusty Imoo (Dayton, 1991-92; Erie, 1991-92 and Cincinnati, 1991-92); Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13); Darcy Kuemper (Ontario, 2011-12 and Orlando, 2012-13); Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)
Minnesota Wild (Rapid City Rush) – Head Coach Bruce Boudreau (Mississippi, 1996-99); Assistant Coach Bob Woods (Johnstown, 1990-94; Hampton Roads, 1995-96; Mobile, 1996-97; Tallahassee, 1997-98 and Mississippi, 1998-05); Devan Dubnyk (Stockton, 2006-07) and Alex Stalock (Stockton, 2011-12)
Montreal Canadiens (Brampton Beast) – Assistant Coach J.J. Daigneault (Phoenix, 2005-06); Assistant Coach Dan Lacroix (Atlantic City, 2001-02); Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2008-09); Brandon Davidson (Stockton, 2012-13), Torrey Mitchell (San Francisco, 2012-13); Al Montoya (Charlotte, 2005-06) and Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-00)
Nashville Predators (Norfolk Admirals) – Head Coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98); Anthony Bitetto (Cincinnati, 2012-13) and Cody McLeod (San Diego, 2005-06)
New Jersey Devils (Adirondack Thunder) – Assistant Coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-00)
New York Islanders (Worcester Railers) – Assistant Coach Scott Gomez (Alaska, 2004-05 and 2011-12); Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07); Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06) and Alan Quine * (Stockton, 2013-14)
New York Rangers (Greenville Swamp Rabbits) – Video Coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92) and David Desharnais (Cincinnati, 2007-08)
Ottawa Senators – Alexandre Burrows (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia, 2003-05); Mike Condon (Ontario, 2012-13 and Wheeling, 2013-14); Mike Hoffman (Elmira, 2010-11); Tom Pyatt (Charlotte, 2007-08) and Chris Wideman (Elmira, 2012-13)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Goalie Coach Mike Buckley (Mississippi, 2002-04 and Gwinnett, 2003-04); Josh Archibald (Wheeling, 2014-154); Tom Kuhnhackl (Wheeling, 2012-14); Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13) and Carter Rowney (Wheeling, 2013-15)
San Jose Sharks (Allen Americans) – Assistant Coach Steve Spott (Richmond, 1990-91); Assistant Coach/Goaltending Coach Johan Hedberg (Baton Rouge, 1997-98); Aaron Dell (Utah, 2013-14 and Allen, 2014-15) and Martin Jones (Ontario, 2010-11)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Orlando Solar Bears) – Goaltending Coach Steve Briere (Mississippi, 2000-01; Cincinnati, 2001-02 and Toledo, 2001-02)
Vegas Golden Knights (Quad City Mallards) – Assistant Coach Ryan Craig (Pensacola, 2003-04) and Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07);
Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Assistant Coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-96 and Jacksonville, 1995-96); Professional Development Coach Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92); Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07); Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13); Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10) and Nathan Walker (South Carolina, 2014-15)
Winnipeg Jets (Jacksonville IceMen) – Assistant Coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1997-98); Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91); Goaltending Coach Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90); Ben Chiarot (Colorado, 2011-12) and Matt Hendricks * (Florida, 2004-05)
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 30th season in 2017-18. There have been who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including 24 who made their debut in the 2016-17 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 27 of the 30 NHL teams in 2017-18, marking the 21st consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.