PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced that the Board of Governors unanimously confirmed the appointment of Patrick J. Kelly as the Chairman of the ECHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee at its Preseason Meeting on Friday in Chicago.
“Mr. Kelly has literally been involved with the ECHL since day one,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “There isn’t another individual who has contributed more or who knows the history and tradition of the ECHL better than Pat Kelly. He is the ideal person to chair our Selection Committee.”
“It has been a thrill for me to be involved with the league for more than 20 years, and it is wonderful to see how it has grown,” said Kelly. “It is great to have the ECHL Hall of Fame to recognize the individuals who have contributed to our growth and success. We encourage the fans to contact their teams to submit names of those who they feel are deserving of being included.”
Nominations for the Class of 2009 must be submitted by Nov. 1 for review by the ECHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Fans are encouraged to contact their team to propose names for nomination which can only be submitted by member of the Selection Committee, the Board of Governors or teams in the ECHL.
Inductees are recognized each January in conjunction with the ECHL All-Star Game and are enshrined online at ECHLHallOfFame.com as well as being recognized at the league office in Princeton, N.J. and at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
Kelly was the inaugural Commissioner of the ECHL from 1988-96 when the league experienced the greatest expansion in minor league hockey history, growing from five teams to 21. He was instrumental in establishing affiliations with teams in the NHL, creating the opportunity for players, on-ice officials and front office personnel to develop and move up the hockey ladder. Kelly was appointed Commissioner Emeritus in 1996 and since 1997 has presented the postseason champion with the Patrick J. Kelly Cup.
Hall of Fame members are selected in four categories: Player, Developmental Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. Players must have concluded their career as an active player for a minimum of three playing seasons, though not continuous or full seasons. Development Players must have began their career in the ECHL and went on to a distinguished career in the NHL, playing a minimum of 260 regular season games in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. Builders may be active or inactive whereas Referee/Linesman must have concluded their active officiating career for a minimum of three playing seasons.
No more than five candidates may be elected to the ECHL Hall of Fame each year with no more than three Players, one Developmental Player, two Builders and one Referee/Linesman. The Builder and the Referee/Linesman categories are dependent upon the number of candidates in the Player category.
The third-longest tenured professional hockey league, behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League has grown from five teams in three states in 1988-89 into a coast-to-coast league with 23 teams playing in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
Watch games live on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider” of the ECHL.
The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 and is 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 23 teams playing 828 games in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.
The Reading Royals, the City of Reading and the Sovereign Center will host the 17th Annual ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 21, 2009 and the 12th Annual All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 20, 2009.
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 12th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There have been 355 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 26 in 2006-07 and 2007-08.
Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals, Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders and Peter Laviolette of the Carolina Hurricanes. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award. Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006. There are 18 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
The ECHL is represented for the eighth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2008 by Aaron Downey of the Detroit Red Wings.
The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League in 2007-08 and for the past 19 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.
In the last six seasons the ECHL has had more call ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,300 call ups involving more than 1,200 players. In each of the last three seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL in the same season.
Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.