Fast Facts About The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League

* Began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states, the coast-to-coast ECHL welcomes back the Texas Wildcatters and the Cincinnati Cyclones in 2006-07 giving it 25 teams in 16 states and British Columbia.

* ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and 133 players who were under contract to teams in the NHL played in the ECHL last season.

* Two head coaches (Peter Laviolette and Jim Playfair) and nine assistant coaches in the NHL have ECHL experience.

* 303 players have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 158 in the last five seasons.

* ECHL was represented for the sixth consecutive year on the Stanley Cup champion by Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette, who is the first ECHL coach to hoist the coveted trophy, Chad LaRose and Andrew Hutchinson.

* ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.

* For each of the past four seasons, the ECHL has had more players called up to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with 1,646 call ups involving almost 1,000 players, including 2005-06 when there were 416 call ups involving 263 players.

* ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. League welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.

* Idaho Steelheads and the City of Boise will host the 15th Annual ECHL All-Star Game presented by Rbk Hockey on Jan. 17 and the 10th Annual ECHL All-Star Skills Competition presented by Rbk Hockey on Jan. 16 at Qwest Arena.

* ECHL and its member teams contributed more than $2.3 million for charity and relief funds, including those benefiting victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while also making thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions.

* Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.