PRINCETON, N.J. – Raitis Ivanans and Mark Streit both made their National Hockey League debut in Montreal’s 5-4 win at Toronto on Saturday increasing the number of ECHL players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL to 260.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL and there is one head coach, 12 assistant coaches, 12 referees and five linesmen working in the NHL in 2005-06 who have ECHL experience.
In his only season in North America in 1999-2000, the 27-year-old Streit had five assists and 16 penalty minutes in 14 games with Tallahassee, one goal and two penalty minutes in one game with Utah of the International Hockey League and 15 points (3g-12a) and 18 penalty minutes in 43 regular season games and two penalty minutes in five playoff games with Springfield of the American Hockey League.
Selected in the ninth round (262nd overall) by Montreal in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the 27-year-old Streit has played the last five seasons in his native Switzerland for the Zurich Lions in the Swiss Elite League. In 2004-05, he was third on the team with 43 points (14g-29a) in 44 games and ranked among the league’s top-scoring defensemen. The 5-11 and 198-pound Streit is the team captain for the Swiss National team and his seven points in seven games at the 2005 World Hockey Championships helped the Swiss team reach the quarterfinals, losing 2-1 to Sweden, and gain a berth in the 2006 Olympics in Italy.
The 24-year-old Ivanans played in the ECHL with Pensacola in 1999-2000 and in 2001-02 with Toledo and Baton Rouge and has 23 points (9g-14a) and 385 penalty minutes in 115 regular season games while also playing in two Kelly Cup Playoff games.
There have been four players in 2005-06 that have made their first NHL appearance since playing in the ECHL: Derek Boogaard (Minnesota on October 5), Raitis Ivanans (Montreal on October 8), George Parros (Los Angeles on October 5) and Mark Streit (Montreal on October 8).