SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League announced that Bridgeport center Eric Boguniecki, who played for the Dayton Bombers as a rookie, has been named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Mar. 11.
Boguniecki assisted on the game-tying goal in the third period and converted his shootout attempt in a 3-2 shootout loss to Wilkes-Barre Scranton on Mar. 9 and then he scored a goal and had three assists in the third period of a 5-4 win against Philadelphia on Mar. 10. He finished the weekend by scoring his first hat trick in more than five years and adding an assist in a 5-4 win against Hershey.
In his first professional season in 1997-98, Boguniecki scored 37 points (19g-18a) in 26 games with Dayton before being called up to Fort Wayne of the International Hockey League where he had 12 points (4g-8a) in 35 regular season games and three points (1g-2a) in four postseason games. In 2001-02, Boguniecki became the third ECHL player to be named Most Valuable Player of the American Hockey League. Former Charlotte goaltender Jason LaBarbera received the award in 2003-04 to become the fourth ECHL player to earn the honor joining Martin Brochu in 1999-2000 and Brad Smyth in 1995-96.
Acquired by the New York Islanders from Columbus on Oct. 25, 2006, Boguniecki leads the Sound Tigers with nine power-play goals and five game-winning goals and is second on the team with 21 goals and 49 points in 44 games.
Other nominees for the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week award included former Florida and current Albany center Keith Aucoin, former Toledo and current Grand Rapids right wing Jamie Tardif, former Louisville and current Houston goaltender Dieter Kochan, former Trenton and current Milwaukee right wing Pat Leahy and former Pee Dee and current Peoria right wing Mike Glumac.
Boguniecki is the second former ECHL player in a row and the 10th this season to win the AHL award. He joins former Roanoke and Wheeling and current Manitoba left wing Jason Jaffray (Oct. 30), former Wheeling and Idaho and current Portland center Zenon Konopka (Nov. 13), Former Alaska and Las Vegas and current Peoria left wing Charles Linglet (Dec. 4), former Jackson and current Chicago center Cory Larose (Dec. 18), former Jackson and current Hershey left wing Quintin Laing (Dec. 26), former Charlotte and current Hartford goaltender Al Montoya (Jan. 2), former Dayton and current Syracuse goaltender Dan LaCosta (Feb. 5), former Toledo and current Grand Rapids center Matt Ellis (Feb. 19) and former Alaska and current San Antonio center Alex Leavitt (Mar. 5).
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League and there are 86 players under contract to AHL teams who have played in the ECHL this season. For the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion and the ECHL has had more players called up to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined each of the past four seasons with 1,646 call ups involving almost 1,000 players.
Former ECHL goaltenders have been named as the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month each of the last four months. Al Montoya, who played for Charlotte and now plays for Hartford, won the award for February while another former Checker Jason LaBarbera, who now plays for Manchester, won the award for January. Jonathan Boutin, who was an ECHL All-Star with Johnstown and now plays for Springfield, won in December, while Jaroslav Halak, who played for Long Beach and now plays for Montreal in the NHL, won for November when he was playing for Hamilton.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07, marking 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 24 former ECHL players who have played their first NHL game this season, including 14 since January.
There have been 327 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06.
There have been 182 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 104 former ECHL players have skated in the NHL this season.
More than 100 players under contract to NHL teams have played in the ECHL this season.
The ECHL was represented for the sixth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team, including Carolina Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette, who is the first ECHL coach to win the Stanley Cup.
There have been 24 ECHL players who have played their first NHL game this season: former Greenville and Richmond right wing Krys Barch (Dallas on Jan. 15), former Mississippi defenseman Sheldon Brookbank (Nashville on Feb. 6), former Reading goaltender Barry Brust (Los Angeles on Nov. 30), former Wheeling left wing Daniel Carcillo (Phoenix on Mar. 3), former Toledo center Matt Ellis (Detroit on Dec. 18), former Wheeling defenseman Drew Fata (New York Islanders on Feb. 4), former Reading defenseman Jeff Finger (Colorado on Feb. 20), former Bakersfield and Reading goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji (Los Angeles on Jan. 13), former Charlotte defenseman Daniel Girardi (New York Rangers on Jan. 27), former Long Beach goaltender Jaroslav Halak (Montreal on Feb. 18), former Trenton goaltender Martin Houle (Philadelphia on Dec. 13), former Alaska left wing D.J. King (St. Louis on Oct. 5), former Wheeling defenseman David Koci (Chicago on Mar. 10), former Florida center Drew Larman (Florida on Nov. 13), former Florida defenseman Martin Lojek (Florida on Feb. 3), former Toledo goaltender Joey MacDonald (Detroit on Oct. 19), former Pensacola center Kris Newbury (Toronto on Dec. 23), former South Carolina and Reading center Rich Peverley (Nashville on Mar. 4), former Augusta right wing Pierre Parenteau (Chicago on Feb. 7), former Columbia right wing Jesse Schultz (Vancouver on Nov. 28), former ECHL All-Star goaltender Mike Smith (Dallas on Oct. 21), former Reading left wing Shay Stephenson (Los Angeles on Mar. 1), former Augusta goaltender Mike Wall (Anaheim on Nov. 26) and former Stockton defenseman Bryan Young (Edmonton on Mar. 9).
In 2005-06 the 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.