Florida’s Baker Is CCM U+
ECHL Most Valuable Player

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Thursday announced that Kevin Baker of the Florida Everblades has selected as the CCM U+ ECHL Most Valuable Player in a vote of league coaches.

Alaska Aces rookie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, who was named Reebok ECHL Goaltender of the Year on Wednesday, finished second in the voting while Trenton Devils goaltender Gerald Coleman was third and Wheeling Nailers forward Bryan Ewing, who was selected as the CCM ECHL Rookie of the Year, was fourth. Wes Goldie of the Victoria Salmon Kings and Travis Morin of the South Carolina Stingrays tied for fifth.

Baker, who was named First Team All-ECHL, won the ECHL scoring title with 102 points and 57 goals while tying the league record with 27 power-play goals. He is the first player since 2000-01 to score 50 goals and his 57 goals rank 11th in league history. Baker, who is under contract to Rochester of the American Hockey League, also led the league with 10 game-winning goals and 48 power-play points.

In the last three seasons he has 122 goals and 239 points in 174 regular season games and was chosen to be a starter in the ECHL All-Star Game in 2007 and the 2009. He was selected to the All-ECHL First Team in 2006-07 when he tied for fifth with 81 points (36g-45a).

CCM U+ ECHL Most Valuable Player Award Winners
2008-09 Kevin Baker, Florida Everblades
2007-08 David Desharnais, Cincinnati Cyclones (Rookie)
2006-07 Brad Schell, Gwinnett Gladiators
2005-06 Jeff Campbell, Gwinnett Gladiators
2004-05 Scott Gomez, Alaska Aces
2003-04 Scott Stirling, Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies
2002-03 Buddy Smith, Arkansas RiverBlades
2001-02 Frederic Cloutier, Louisiana IceGators (Rookie)
2000-01 Scott King, Charlotte Checkers
1999-00 Andrew Williamson, Toledo Storm
1998-99 Chris Valicevic, Louisiana IceGators
1997-98 Jamey Hicks, Birmingham Bulls
1996-97 Mike Ross, South Carolina Stingrays
1995-96 Hugo Belanger, Nashville Knights (Rookie)
1994-95 Vadim Slivchenko, Wheeling Thunderbirds
1993-94 Joe Flanagan, Birmingham Bulls
1992-93 Trevor Jobe, Nashville Knights
1991-92 Phil Berger, Greensboro Monarchs
1990-91 Stan Drulia, Knoxville Cherokees
1989-90 Bill McDougall, Erie Panthers (Rookie)
1988-89 Daryl Harpe, Erie Panthers (Rookie)

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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 21 teams in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
* The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
* Affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League marking 12th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
* 406 former ECHL players have played in NHL.
* 150 have played their first NHL game in the last four seasons.
* Record 51 former ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season: former Idaho Steelheads right wing Jay Beagle (Washington on Feb. 11), former Wheeling Nailers and ECHL All-Star defenseman Paul Bissonnette (Pittsburgh on Oct. 4), former Stockton Thunder and ECHL All-Star right wing Troy Bodie (Anaheim on Jan. 16), former Bakersfield Condors center Alexandre Bolduc (Vancouver on Nov. 27), former Florida Everblades defenseman Brett Carson (Carolina on Dec. 7), former Idaho Steelheads goaltender Matt Climie (Dallas on Apr.4), former South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Sean Collins (Washington on Dec. 6), former Las Vegas Wranglers and Wheeling Nailers goaltender John Curry (Pittsburgh on Nov. 26), former Greenville Grrrowl goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (Edmonton on Oct. 17), former Johnstown Chiefs center Andre Deveaux (Toronto on Nov. 27), former Dayton Bombers center Philippe Dupuis (Colorado on Dec. 12), former Gwinnett Gladiators left wing Chris Durno (Colorado on Jan. 18), former Gwinnett Gladiators right wing Pat Dwyer (Carolina on Nov. 2), former South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Jamie Fraser (New York Islanders on Apr. 4), former Columbus Cottonmouths and Tallahassee Tiger Sharks left wing Mitch Fritz (New York Islanders on Oct. 30), former South Carolina Stingrays right wing Andrew Gordon (Washington on Dec. 23), former Augusta Lynx and Mississippi Sea Wolves goaltender Riku Helenius (Tampa Bay on Jan. 30), former Charlotte Checkers center Dwight Helminen (Carolina on Oct. 28), former Florida Everblades and ECHL All-Star center Matt Hendricks (Colorado on Mar. 10), former Las Vegas Wranglers goaltender Brent Krahn (Dallas on Feb. 14), former Trenton Devils right wing Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (New Jersey on Oct. 22), former Gwinnett Gladiators defenseman Scott Lehman (Atlanta on Dec. 18), former Johnstown Chiefs defenseman Raymond Macias (Colorado on Apr. 1), former Utah Grizzlies defenseman Andrew MacDonald (New York Islanders on Feb. 28), former Charlotte Checkers defenseman Steve MacIntyre (Edmonton on Oct. 15), former Florida Everblades left wing Kenndal McArdle (Florida on Dec. 2), two-time All-Star and former Las Vegas Wranglers goaltender Mike McKenna (Tampa Bay on Feb. 3), former All-Star and Wheeling Nailers center Kurtis McLean (New York Islanders on Jan. 19), former Charlotte Checkers goaltender Al Montoya (Phoenix on Apr. 1), former South Carolina Stingrays and ECHL All-Star goaltender Michal Neuvirth (Washington on Feb. 14), former Johnstown Chiefs defenseman Wes O’Neill (Toronto on Mar. 9), former Columbia Inferno defenseman Phil Oreskovic (Toronto on Mar. 9), former Phoenix RoadRunners and Wheeling Nailers center Cam Paddock (St. Louis on Nov. 14), former Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Adam Pardy (Calgary on Oct. 9), former Idaho Steelheads left wing Warren Peters (Calgary on Dec. 7), former Charlotte Checkers center Jakub Petruzalek (Carolina on Feb. 5), former Charlotte Checkers defenseman Corey Potter (New York Rangers on Dec. 7), former Augusta Lynx defenseman Kevin Quick (Tampa Bay on Jan. 13), former Utah Grizzlies right wing Joel Rechlicz (New York Islanders on Mar. 4), former Charlotte Checkers, Columbia Inferno and Elmira Jackals defenseman Bryan Rodney (Carolina on Dec. 11), former Gwinnett Gladiators center Jared Ross (Philadelphia on Oct. 11), former Alaska Aces goaltender Marek Schwarz (St. Louis on Oct. 25), former Greenville Grrrowl and Stockton Thunder center Tim Sestito (Edmonton on Nov. 26), former Augusta Lynx defenseman Brett Skinner (New York Islanders on Oct. 27), former Dayton Bombers and Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Tyler Sloan (Washington on Oct. 21), former Utah Grizzlies and ECHL All-Star center Trevor Smith (New York Islanders on Dec. 31), former Johnstown Chiefs and Mississippi Sea Wolves forward Radek Smolenak (Tampa Bay on Dec. 2), former Las Vegas Wranglers and ECHL All-Star defenseman Tyson Strachan (St. Louis on Dec. 18), former Phoenix RoadRunners goaltender Josh Tordjman (Phoenix on Mar. 8), former Wheeling Nailers right wing Tim Wallace (Pittsburgh on Dec. 10) and former Idaho Steelheads center Tom Wandell (Dallas on Dec. 10).
* Eight players have played in the ECHL and the NHL in 2008-09: goaltenders Matt Climie (Idaho and Dallas), Riku Helenius (Mississippi and Tampa Bay), Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina and Washington) and Marek Schwarz (Alaska and St. Louis), defensemen Raymond Macias (Johnstown and Colorado), Wes O’Neill and Kevin Quick (Augusta and Tampa Bay) and right wing Joel Rechlicz (Utah and New York Islanders).
* There were 72 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters.
* Twenty-six former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2007-08 including six who played in both the ECHL and the NHL: Chris Beckford-Tseu (Alaska and St. Louis), Adam Berti (Pensacola and Chicago), Joe Jensen (Wheeling and Carolina), Dan LaCosta (Elmira and Columbus), Jonathan Quick (Reading and Los Angeles) and Danny Taylor (Reading and Los Angeles).
* Record 47 former ECHL players played their first NHL game in 2005-06.
* ECHL is represented for the eighth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2008 by Aaron Downey of the Detroit Red Wings.
* Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders while former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is the interim head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. 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. Peter Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.
* There are 18 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
* There are 18 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2008-09 with referees David Banfield, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, 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, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers. Barton, Joannette, Leggo, McCauley, Nowak, Pollock, Rooney and Sharrers all worked the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
* ECHL has affiliations with 23 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 19 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 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.
* Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.