PRINCETON, N.J. – Former Columbus center Mike Bishai became the 236th ECHL player to advance to the National Hockey League when he made his debut with Edmonton on Thursday. Bishai had 14 shifts, won five of nine faceoffs and had two penalty minutes in the Oilers 5-2 win against Chicago.
Prior to being called up to Edmonton on Wednesday, the 23-year-old Bishai scored 20 points (11g-9a) in 30 games with Toronto of the American Hockey League.
Signed as a free agent by Edmonton on May 28, 2002, the 5-11 and 205-pound Bishai scored 29 points (12g-17a) in 25 games with Columbus in 2002-03. He was selected to the Southern Conference roster for the 2003 ECHL All-Star, but was unable to play in the game after being called up by Hamilton of the AHL. He scored 12 points (7g-5a) in 27 regular season games and three points (2g-1a) in six playoff games for Hamilton.
There have been 21 players in 2003-04 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL. Bishai becomes the 20th ECHL player to make his NHL debut in 2003-04 joining Johnathan Aitken (Chicago on November 26), Ryan Barnes (Detroit on December 15), Darryl Bootland (Detroit on November 8), Garrett Burnett (Anaheim on October 8), Carl Corazzini (Boston on January 15), Andrew Hutchinson (Nashville on October 18), Boyd Kane (Philadelphia on October 16), Patrick Leahy (Boston on December 6), Steve McLaren (St. Louis on December 16), Jason MacDonald ( New York Rangers on December 12), Pat Rissmiller (San Jose on November 13), Nathan Robinson (Detroit on November 28), Michael Ryder (Montreal on October 9), Dany Sabourin (Calgary on October 29), Rob Skrlac (New Jersey on December 13), Rastislav Stana (Washington on November 14), Mike Stuart (St. Louis on October 24), Darcy Verot (Washington on January 1), and Jeremy Yablonski (St. Louis on December 30). Travis Brigley, who played for Macon of the ECHL in 2001-02, played for Colorado on October 26.