The ECHL has 66 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, marking the 18th 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 30 of the 31 teams and has affiliations with 25 of the 31 teams in the NHL, marking the 22nd consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There are 42 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar, Florida Panthers head coach Bob Boughner, Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau, Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette and Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden. It is the 14th consecutive season that there have been 12 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Laviolette, who coached the Wheeling Nailers during the 1997-98 season, became the first former ECHL coach to serve as head coach of a Stanley Cup champion with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, while 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 while.
There are 33 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2018-19 with referees Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Trevor Hanson, Beau Halkidis, 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, Jesse Marquis, Bevin Mills, Kory Nagy, Tim Nowak and Bryan Pancich.
There have been 641 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 18 who made their debuts in 2017-18. The ECHL has had 449 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 385 ECHL players have played their first game in the last 13 seasons for an average of more than 29 per year.
There were three players who played in both the ECHL and NHL in 2017-18: Ken Appleby with Adirondack and New Jersey, Collin Delia with Indy and Chicago and Brandon Halverson with Greenville and the New York Rangers.
The ECHL was represented for the 18th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2018 with Washington Capitals’ players Jay Beagle, Philipp Grubauer and Braden Holtby, Associate Coach Todd Reirden, Professional Development Coach Olaf Kolzig, Pro Scout/Minor League Operations Jason Fitzsimmons, Manager of Hockey Analytics H.T. Lenz, Head Athletic Trainer Jason Serbus and Equipment Assistant Dave Marin. There were 32 former players and 20 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2018, marking the 13th year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the 15th 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 while former ECHL player Shane Hnidy is an analyst with the Golden Knights.
Former ECHL coaches and players on NHL Opening-Day Rosters (ECHL affiliate listed in parentheses):
(*) – Injured Reserve
Anaheim Ducks – Assistant Coach Mark Morrison (Victoria, 2006-11); Assistant Coach Mart Wilford (Columbus, 1997-98); Carter Rowney (Wheeling, 2013-15) and Ben Street (Wheeling, 2010-11)
Arizona Coyotes (Norfolk Admirals) – 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); Josh Archibald * (Wheeling, 2014-15) and Darcy Kuemper (Ontario, 2011-12 and Orlando, 2012-13)
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 Jarsolav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06)
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); Carter Hutton (Toledo, 2011-12)
Calgary Flames (Kansas City Mavericks) – Assistant Coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-00) and Mike Smith (Lexington, 2002-03)
Carolina Hurricanes (Florida Everblades) – Scott Darling * (Florida, 2011-12; Wheeling, 2012-13 and Cincinnati, 2013-14); Micheal Ferland (Utah, 2012-13) and Petr Mrazek (Toledo, 2012-13)
Chicago Blackhawks (Indy Fuel) – Assistant Coach Don Granato (Columbus, 1991-93 and 1997-99 and Peoria, 1999-00) and Brandon Davidson (Stockton, 2012-13)
Colorado Avalanche (Utah Grizzlies) – Head Coach Jared Bednar (Huntington, 1993-96 and South Carolina, 1996-09); Assistant Coach Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 1995-96); Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13)
Columbus Blue Jackets – Goaltending Coach Manny Lagace (Richmond, 1996-97) and Brandon Dubinsky (Alaska, 2012-13)
Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09) and Gemel Smith (Idaho, 2015-16)
Detroit Red Wings (Toledo Walleye) – Assistant Coach Dan Bylsma (Greensboro, 1992-94); 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); Assistant Coach/Video Adam Nighingale (Greenville, 2004-06 and Charlotte, 2006-08); Martin Frk (Toledo, 2013-15); Luke Glendening (Toledo, 2012-13); Nick Jensen (Toledo, 2013-14)
Edmonton Oilers (Wichita Thunder) – Assistant Coach Glen Gulutzan (Las Vegas, 2003-09); Mikko Koskinen (Utah, 2009-10) 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); Mike Hoffman (Elmira, 2010-11); Jacob MacDonald (Elmira, 2014-16 and Toledo, 2016-17); James Reimer (Reading, 2008-09 and South Carolina, 2008-09) and Mackenzie Weegar (Cincinnati, 2014-15)
Los Angeles Kings (Manchester Monarchs) – Developmental Goaltending Coach Dusty Imoo (Dayton, 1991-92; Erie, 1991-92 and Cincinnati, 1991-92); Jack Campbell (Idaho, 2014-16); Kyle Clifford (Ontario, 2012-13); Trevor Lewis (Utah, 2012-13); Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08); Nate Thompson (Alaska, 2012-13)
Minnesota Wild (Allen Americans) – 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); Matt Hendricks (Florida, 2004-05) and Alex Stalock (Stockton, 2011-12)
Montreal Canadiens – Jordie Benn (Victoria, 2008-09)
Nashville Predators – Head Coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98); Anthony Bitetto (Cincinnati, 2012-13) and Frederick Gaudreau (Cincinnati, 2014-15)
New Jersey Devils (Adirondack Thunder) – Assistant Coach Rick Kowalsky (Hampton Roads, 1994-00; Trenton, 2000-01; 2004-05 and 2006-10; and Roanoke, 2001-04) and Jean-Sebastien Dea (Wheeling, 2014-15)
New York Islanders (Worcester Railers) – Assistant Coach Scott Gomez (Alaska, 2004-05 and 2011-12); Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07); Ross Johnston (Missouri, 2015-16) and Tom Kuhnhackl (Wheeling, 2012-14)
New York Rangers (Maine Mariners) – Video Coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92) and Cody McLeod (San Diego, 2005-06)
Ottawa Senators (Brampton Beast) – Mike Condon (Ontario, 2012-13 and Wheeling, 2013-14); Ben Harpur (Evansville, 2015-16); Tom Pyatt (Charlotte, 2007-08) and Chris Wideman (Elmira, 2012-13)
Philadelphia Flyers (Reading Royals) – Andrew MacDonald (Utah, 2007-08); Michal Neuvirth * (South Carolina, 2008-09) and Anthony Stolarz (Reading, 2017-18)
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Goalie Coach Mike Buckley (Mississippi, 2002-04 and Gwinnett, 2003-04) and Casey DeSmith (Wheeling, 2015-16)
San Jose Sharks – 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)
Tampa Bay Lightning (Orlando Solar Bears) – Assistant Coach Derek Lalonde (Toledo, 2014-16); Cory Conacher (Cincinnati, 2010-11); Louis Domingue (Gwinnett, 2012-15); Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06) and Yanni Gourde (San Francisco, 2012-13 and Kalamazoo, 2013-14)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Newfoundland Growlers) – Goaltending Coach Steve Briere (Mississippi, 2000-01; Cincinnati, 2001-02 and Toledo, 2001-02); Justin Holl (Indy, 2014-15) and Garret Sparks (Orlando, 2013-16)
Vancouver Canucks (Kalamazoo Wings) – Jay Beagle (Idaho, 2006-07)
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) and Ryan Reaves (Alaska, 2007-08 and Orlando, 2012-13)
Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Head Coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-96 and Jacksonville, 1995-96); Professional Development Coach Olaf Kolzig (Hampton Roads, 1990-92); Pheonix Copley (South Carolina, 2013-14); 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); Laurent Brossoit (Alaska, 2013-14 and Bakersfield, 2013-14); Ben Chiarot (Colorado, 2011-12)
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 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 31st season in 2018-19. There have been 641 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 18 who made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2018-19, marking the 22nd consecutive season that the league has 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.