PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL is represented by 30 players and former Wheeling coach Peter Laviolette, who is the head coach of the United States team, in the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship that began Saturday and continues through May 15 in Austria.
It is the second straight year that Laviolette has been head coach for the United States team and the second year in a row that the ECHL has been represented by 30 players in the World Championships. Laviolette, who coached the Wheeling Nailers to a 37-24-9 record in 1997-98, coached the United States to a 1-0 win over Slovakia in the Bronze Medal Game in the 2004 World Championship.
Fourteen of the 16 teams competing in 2005 have an ECHL player on their roster including seven players on the roster for Latvia and three each for Slovakia and the Ukraine. The host nation of Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Slovenia, and Switzerland each have two ECHL players, and Kazakhstan, Belarus, Denmark, Sweden, and the United States each have one ECHL player on their rosters. The two teams that do not have a former ECHL player are Canada and Finland.
One player who played in the ECHL in 2004-05 is competing in the World Championships. Forward Maris Ziedins of Latvia split the 2004-05 season between Greenville and Toledo, scoring 33 points (16g-17a) with the Grrrowl before being dealt to Toledo at the trade deadline, where in 12 games with the Storm he recorded 15 points (9g-6a).
ECHL Players in 2005 IIHF World Championships
Austria (2) – Andre Lakos (Augusta, 2002-03) and Philipe Lakos (Jacksonville, 1999-2000; Toledo, 2000-01; Florida and Reading, 2001-02 and Augusta and Arkansas, 2002-03).
Belarus (1) – Andrei Mezin (Roanoke, 1993-94).
Czech Republic (2) – Tomas Vokoun (Wheeling, 1995-96) and Milan Hnilicka (Richmond, 1993-94).
Denmark (1) – Peter Hirsch (Bakersfield, 2003-04).
Germany (2) – Jan Benda (Richmond, 1994-95) and Nico Pyka (Mobile, 1998-99).
Kazakhstan (1) – Oleg Kovalenko (Erie, 1993-94).
Latvia (7) – Aigars Cipruss (Nashville, 1994-96), Arturs Irbe (Johnstown, 2003-04), Rodrigo Lavins (Raleigh, 1994-95 and Tallahassee, 1994-97), Agris Saviels (Reading, 2002-03), Oleg Sorokin (Jacksonville and Roanoke, 1996-97) and Herbert Vasilijevs (Knoxville, 1996-97), and Maris Ziedins (Greenville and Toledo, 2004-05).
Russia (2) – Vladimir Antipov (South Carolina, 1999-2000) and Fedor Fedorov (Columbia, 2001-02).
Slovakia (3) – Jan Lasak (Hampton Roads, 1999-2000), Rastislav Stana (Richmond, 2000-02), and Rene Vydareny (Columbia 2001-02).
Slovenia (2) – Ivo Jan (Johnstown, 1997-98) and Edo Terglav (Johnstown, 2000-01).
Switzerland (2) – Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-2000) and David Aebischer (Wheeling and Chesapeake, 1997-98).
Sweden (1) – Johan Holmqvist (Charlotte, 2002-03).
Ukraine (3) – Alex Matvichuk (Toledo, 1996-97; Wheeling 1996-98 and Greensboro, 2001-02), Andrei Sryubko (Toledo, 1996-98) and Oleg Timchenko (Greensboro, 1999-2001; Florida and New Orleans, 2000-01).
United States (1) – Head Coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98) and Tim Thomas (Birmingham, 1997-98).