ECHL represented on Stanley Cup champion for 23rd straight year
For the 23rd consecutive year, the ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup champion with Vegas Golden Knights Head Coach Bruce Cassidy; Assistant Coach Ryan Craig; players Laurent Brossoit, Adin Hill, Keegan Kolesar, Brayden Pachal, Jonathan Quick and Logan Thompson; Manager of Goaltending Development and Scouting Mike Rosati, Professional Scouts Kent Hawley and Vince Williams; Amateur Scout Connor Jones; European Scout Alex Godynyuk; Television Play-by-Play Announcer Dave Goucher; Television Analyst Shane Hnidy and Radio Play-by-Play Announcer Dan D’Uva. It is the most ECHL alums to be a part of a Stanley Cup championship team.
The Savannah Ghost Pirates are the ECHL affiliate of the Golden Knights. The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League had affiliations with 28 of the 32 teams in the NHL in 2021-22, marking the 26th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams. The ECHL had 78 players on NHL opening-day rosters, marking the 20th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
Cassidy is the third former ECHL head coach to lead a team to the Stanley Cup title, joining former Wheeling Nailers’ Head Coach Peter Laviolette (Carolina, 2006) and former South Carolina Stingrays’ Head Coach Jared Bednar (Colorado, 2022). Cassidy’s first head coaching job was with the Jacksonville Lizard Kings from 1996-98, and he also was the first head coach of the Trenton Titans in 1999-2000. Cassidy has led Vegas and the Boston Bruins to at least 44 wins in five of his six full seasons as an NHL head coach.
Craig, who is his sixth season as an assistant coach for the Golden Knights, made his professional debut in the ECHL with the Pensacola Ice Pilots in 2003-04, recording eight points (3g-5a) in five games. He went on to skate in 711 career games in the American Hockey League and 198 NHL contests.
Brossoit was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team in 2013-14 when he went 26-9-2 in 38 appearances for Alaska and Bakersfield with eight shutouts, a 2.01 goals-against average and a save percentage of .926. He has posted a 54-43-11 in 125 career NHL appearances with Vegas, Winnipeg and Edmonton.
Hill saw action in five games with Rapid City in 2016-17 and has posted a 55-41-8 record in 116 carer NHL appearances with Vegas, San Jose and Arizona.
Kolesar tallied 16 points (9g-7a) in 20 games with Quad City during the 2017-18 season and has posted 55 points (18g-37a) in 196 career games for the Golden Knights.
Pachal skated in four games with Fort Wayne during the 2019-20 season, picking up two assists. He has totaled a pair of assists in 12 games with Vegas over the last two seasons.
Quick appeared in 38 games with the Reading Royals in 2007-08 posting a 23-11-3 record with one shutout, a 2.79 goals-against average and a save percentage of .905. He earned his first pro win in his second start with the Royals, turning aside all 32 shots he faced in a 3-0 win at Pensacola on Oct. 24, 2007, while also becoming just the ninth goaltender in ECHL history at the time to score a goal. Quick is 375-277-84 in 753 career NHL games with Vegas and Los Angeles. It is the third Stanley Cup championship for Quick after also capturing titles with the Kings in 2012 and 2014.
Thompson appeared in 40 games for Adirondack and South Carolina from 2018-20 going 25-12-2 with three shutouts, a 2.34 goals-against average and a save percentage of .927. In 57 career appearances with Vegas, Thompson is 31-18-6 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a save percentage of .915.
Rosati went 12-5-0 in 18 appearances for Erie in his first pro season in 1989-90 on his way to a 15-year pro career, spent mainly in Italy and Germany.
Hawley had 56 points (22g-34a) in 56 regular-season games with Hampton Roads from 1989-91 while adding 19 points (7g-12a) in 19 postseason games, and capturing a Riley Cup championship with the Admirals in 1991.
Williams was a player, assistant coach and head coach in the ECHL from 1998-2015. As a player, he totaled 93 points (23g-70a) in 461 career games with Columbus (Chill), Trenton and Florida before spending four seasons as an assistant coach with Trenton from 2007-11. Williams then was head coach for Trenton from 2011-13 and Orlando from 2013-15, posting an overall record of 133-122-33.
Jones is in his first season on the Golden Knights' scouting staff after concluding his playing career in 2021-22 with Fort Wayne. He totaled 65 points (20g-45a) in 79 career ECHL games with the Komets and Bakersfield, while spending the majority of his career in the AHL.
Godynyuk spent the 2001-02 season with Greensboro, beginning the season as assistant coach before serving as the Generals’ head coach for the final 20 games.
Goucher was the broadcaster for Wheeling from 1993-95 before moving on to Providence of the AHL. He was named television broadcaster for the Boston Bruins in 2000, and has been with Vegas since the team’s inaugural season in 2017-18.
Hnidy had 13 points (3g-10a) in 21 games with Baton Rouge as a rookie in 1996-97 and posted five points (1g-4a) in 19 games with Florida during the NHL lockout season in 2004-05. He played in 550 career NHL games from 2000-11.
D’Uva served as radio broadcaster for Trenton from 2009-11, then spent five seasons in the same role with Syracuse of the AHL before joining the Golden Knights for their inaugural season in 2017-18.
In addition to the members of the Golden Knights, the following ECHL alums have been on the Stanley Cup winner:
- Head Coach Jared Bednar; Assistant Coach Nolan Pratt; goaltender Darcy Kuemper; Head Equipment Manager J.C. Ihrig and Assistant Equipment Manager Donny White (Colorado – 2022)
- Yanni Gourde; Assistant Coach Derek Lalonde; Director of Player Development JP Cote; Assistant Equipment Manager Jason Berger and Radio Play-by-Play Announcer Dave Mishkin (Tampa Bay – 2021)
- Yanni Gourde and Carter Verhaeghe; Assistant Coach Derek Lalonde; Director of Player Development JP Cote; Assistant Equipment Manager Jason Berger and Radio Play-by-Play Announcer Dave Mishkin (Tampa Bay – 2020)
- Jordan Binnington; Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer Steve Chapman; Vice President, Broadcast and Content Development Chris Kerber; Assistant GM and Director of Amateur Scouting Bill Armstrong; Pro Scout Dave Farrish; Assistant Athletic Trainer Dustin Flynn and Equipment Assistant Andrew Dvorak (St. Louis – 2019)
- 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 (Washington – 2018)
- Josh Archibald, Tom Kuhnhackl, Carter Rowney and Mark Streit;Goalie Development Coach Mike Buckley; Athletic Trainer Chris Stewart; Head Equipment Manager Dana Heinze; Vice President of Hockey Operations Jason Karmanos; Director of Pro Scouting Derek Clancey and Amateur Scouts Ryan Bowness and Warren Young (Pittsburgh – 2017)
- Tom Kuhnhackl; Goalie Development Coach Mike Buckley; Head Athletic Trainer Chris Stewart; Head Equipment Manager Dana Heinze; Vice President of Hockey Operations Jason Karmanos; Director of Pro Scouting Derek Clancey and Amateur Scout Warren Young; (Pittsburgh – 2016)
- Scott Darling and Andrew Desjardins; Vice President of Hockey Operations Al MacIsaac; General Manager of Minor League Affiliations Mark Bernard; Director of Pro Scouting Ryan Stewart and Pro Scout Derek Booth (Chicago – 2015)
- Kyle Clifford; Trevor Lewis; Martin Jones; Dwight King; Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick and Assistant Coach Davis Payne (Los Angeles – 2014)
- Sheldon Brookbank and Daniel Carcillo; Assistant Coach Jamie Kompon; Vice President/Assistant to the President Al MacIsaac; Director of Pro Scouting Ryan Stewart and General Manager of Minor League Affiliations Mark Bernard (Chicago – 2013);
- Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles – 2012)
- Rich Peverley, Michael Ryder and Tim Thomas and Assistant Coach Geoff Ward (Boston – 2011)
- Vice President Al MacIsaac, Assistant Coach Mike Haviland, Associate Coach John Torchetti and Director of Pro Scouting Ryan Stewart (Chicago – 2010)
- Ruslan Fedotenko and Head Coach Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh – 2009)
- Aaron Downey (Detroit – 2008)
- Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and Assistant Coach Dave Farrish (Anaheim – 2007)
- Andrew Hutchinson and Chad LaRose and Head Coach Peter Laviolette (Carolina – 2006)
- 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)
- Kevin Dean (New Jersey – 1995)
The ECHL was represented in the Stanley Cup Playoffs by 34 former players and 19 coaches on the 16 teams. It was the 20th consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience competed in the NHL postseason. It marked the 19th straight year that the ECHL has been represented by at least six coaches.
There have been 740 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 13 who made their debut in 2022-23. The ECHL has had 546 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 484 ECHL players who have played their first game in the last 18 seasons for an average of more than 26 per year.
There were two players who played in both the ECHL and NHL in 2023-23: Kevin Mandolese (Allen and Ottawa) and Dylan Wells (Idaho and Chicago).
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, Josh Bogorad of the Dallas Stars, 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, Dave Goucher and Dan D’Uva of the Vegas Golden Knights and Everett Fitzhugh of the Seattle Kraken. Former ECHL player Tyson Nash is an analyst with the Arizona Coyotes, former ECHL player Jody Shelley is an analyst with the Blue Jackets, former ECHL player Tripp Tracy is an analyst with the Carolina Hurricanes and former ECHL player Shane Hnidy is an analyst with the Golden Knights.
There were 41 former ECHL officials who worked as part of the NHL officiating team in 2022-23 with referees Reid Anderson, Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Mitch Dunning, Trevor Hanson, Beau Halkidis, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Pierre Lambert, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, Morgan MacPhee, Michael Markovic, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Carter Sandlak, Graham Skilliter, Furman South, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh and linesmen Steve Barton, Ryan Daisy, Julien Fournier, Brandon Gawryletz, Mitchell Hunt, Trent Knorr, Matt MacPherson, Jesse Marquis, Kilian McNamara, Bevin Mills, C.J. Murray, Kory Nagy, Ben O’Quinn and Bryan Pancich. McCauley, O'Rourke, Rooney and Barton were selected to work the Stanley Cup Final.
About the ECHL
Formed in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 35th season in 2022-23. There have been 740 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 13 who have made their NHL debut in the 2022-23 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 28 of the 32 NHL teams in 2022-23, marking the 26th 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.