CHICAGO – The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League announced that they have added former ECHL player and assistant coach John Torchetti to the team’s coaching staff as an assistant coach. Torchetti, who began his career behind the bench in 1992-93 as an assistant coach with the Greensboro Monarchs of the ECHL, becomes the 10th NHL assistant coach with have an ECHL background.
Torchetti scored 42 points (16g-26a) in 30 regular season games and helped the Carolina Thunderbirds win the inaugural ECHL Championship scoring 10 points (5g-5a) in 11 playoff games with the Carolina Thunderbirds in 1988-89. He scored 44 points (23g-21a) in 47 regular season games and one point (1g-0a) in four playoff games with the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds of the ECHL in 1989-90. He concluded his playing career in 1990-91 scoring 41 points (19g-22a) in 47 games with Winston-Salem.
He is one of five ECHL coaches that has been a head coach in the NHL, having been named interim head coach of the Florida Panthers in 2003-04 and interim head coach of the Los Angeles Kings in 2005-06. Current Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette and current Calgary head coach Jim Playfair both coached in the ECHL as did Bruce Cassidy, who coached Washington to the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a rookie head coach in 2002-03, and Dave Allison, who coached Ottawa for 25 games in 1995-96.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2006-07, marking the 10th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. There have been 329 players who have played in the NHL after the ECHL and 184 who have made their debut in the last five seasons, including 26 in 2006-07.
The ECHL had 34 players, six coaches and seven former on-ice officials when the Stanley Cup Playoffs began and all 16 teams have a former ECHL player or coach. It is the second year in a row that there have been more than 30 former ECHL players in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the fourth straight season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have played in the NHL postseason. It is the third straight time that the ECHL has had at least six coaches in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The ECHL has been represented on the last six Stanley Cup champions including 2006 by Laviolette, who became the first ECHL coach to hoist the coveted trophy, Chad LaRose, Andrew Hutchinson and assistant athletic trainer Chris Stewart.
There are 11 former ECHL players whose names are on the Stanley Cup: Chad LaRose and Andrew Hutchinson (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) and Kevin Dean (New Jersey – 1995). Pratt is the only ECHL player to have his name engraved twice on the Stanley Cup.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players.
In the last five 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.