Former ECHL Referees Banfield, Ciamaga
Work First NHL Game

PRINCETON, N.J. – Former ECHL referees David Banfield (pictured) and Chris Ciamaga made their National Hockey League debuts last week.

Banfield, who worked at Minnesota on Mar. 17 and at Detroit on Mar. 19, became a full-time official for the ECHL in 2003-04 and has worked more than 200 regular season and playoff games in the ECHL since 2003-04.

Ciamaga, who worked at Pittsburgh on Mar. 22, began as a referee in the ECHL in 2003-04 and began working in the AHL the following season. He worked the Kelly Cup Playoffs twice, including the conference finals in 2005, and has worked the Calder Cup Playoffs the past two years, including the conference finals in 2006.

“We are pleased for David and Chris as they have embarked on their NHL Officiating careers,” said ECHL Director of Officiating Bryan Lewis. “The ECHL is proud of both and acknowledges their time as ECHL officials and the role it played in their development.”

In addition to Banfield and Ciamaga there are 16 former ECHL officials working as part of the NHL officiating team in 2007-08 with referees Kyle Rehman, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre, Ian Walsh and Dean Warren, and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers. Barton, Leggo, McCauley, Nowak O’Rourke, Pollock and Sharrers all worked in the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There have been 352 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 207 who have played their first game in the NHL in the past seven seasons. In each of the last nine NHL seasons there have been at least 20 former ECHL players who have played their first NHL game including 41 in 2003-04 and a record 47 in 2005-06. Four players this season have played in the ECHL and the NHL with goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu, Alaska and St. Louis; goaltender Dan LaCosta, Elmira and Columbus; goaltender Jonathan Quick, Reading and Los Angeles; and left wing Joe Jensen, Wheeling and Carolina.

There have been 23 former ECHL players who have played their first game this season: former Peoria Rivermen and Alaska Aces goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu (St. Louis on Feb. 21), former Florida Everblades center David Brine (Florida on Feb. 2), former Idaho Steelheads right wing B.J. Crombeen (Dallas on Jan. 19), former Gwinnett Gladiators left wing Kevin Doell (Atlanta on Jan. 4), former Alaska defenseman Zack FitzGerald (Vancouver on Feb. 5), former Columbia left wing Alex Foster (Toronto on Mar. 18), former Fresno goaltender Thomas Greiss (San Jose on Jan. 14), former Roanoke Express and Wheeling Nailers left wing Jason Jaffray (Vancouver on Dec. 12), former Wheeling Nailers left wing Joe Jensen (Carolina on Feb. 18), former Dayton and Elmira goaltender Dan LaCosta (Columbus on Mar. 25), former Toledo Storm goaltender Drew MacIntyre (Vancouver on Dec. 13), former San Diego Gulls left wing Cody McLeod (Colorado on Dec. 19), former Alaska Aces and Pensacola Ice Pilots center Chris Minard (Pittsburgh on Jan. 21), former Columbia Inferno center Brandon Nolan (Carolina on Dec. 22), former Johnstown Chiefs and Fresno Falcons goaltender Dmitri Patzold (San Jose on Oct. 7), former Gwinnett Gladiators and Louisiana IceGators left wing Pascal Pelletier (Boston on Jan. 17), former Reading Royals goaltender Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles on Dec. 6), former Stockton Thunder left wing Liam Reddox (Edmonton on Dec. 7), former Gwinnett Gladiators left wing Colin Stuart (Atlanta on Dec. 29), former Columbus Chill, Richmond Renegades and Trenton Titans left wing Pete Vandermeer (Phoenix on Feb. 10), former San Diego goaltender Tyler Weiman (Colorado on Oct. 4), former Charlotte Checkers right wing Craig Weller (Phoenix on Oct. 4) and former Phoenix RoadRunners center Daniel Winnik (Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 4).

There were 26 former ECHL players who made their NHL debut in 2006-07, including goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji and defenseman Bryan Young who played in the ECHL and the NHL. Fukufuji played for Reading in the ECHL and Los Angeles in the NHL while Young skated for Stockton in the ECHL and for Edmonton in the NHL. Dave McKee played for Augusta and dressed for five games as the backup goaltender for Stanley Cup champion Anaheim.

There are 15 coaches in the NHL who have ECHL experience including former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and former Mississippi coach Bruce Boudreau, who is head coach of the Washington Capitals.

The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08, the ECHL is the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League and 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 25 teams playing 900 games in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08.

The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2007-08 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