PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League announced that former Trenton assistant coach Kjell Samuelsson and former Johnstown goaltender Neil Little have been named associate coach and goaltending coach, respectively, for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League.
Little played for Johnstown as a rookie in 1994-95, finishing 7-6-1 with a goals-against average of 3.68 and a save percentage of .896 in 16 regular season games and also played in three of the Chiefs five postseason games. Selected in the 11th round (226th overall) by Philadelphia in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Little also played with Hershey of the AHL in 1994-95, going 5-7-3 with a goals-against average of 3.91 and a save percentage of .868 in 19 regular season games.
Samuelsson, who joined the Phantoms as an assistant coach in 2000-01, began his coaching career in the ECHL in 1999-2000 as an assistant coach with Trenton after retiring following a 14-season playing career in the National Hockey League.
The ECHL will be represented on the American Hockey League champion for the 18th consecutive year as 29 players and two coaches in the 2007 Calder Cup Finals have ECHL experience.
Defending AHL champion Hershey has head coach Bruce Boudreau, assistant coach Bob Woods and 17 players, including seven who played in the ECHL this season, while Hamilton has 12 players with ECHL experience, including seven who played in the Premier â€˜AAâ€™ Hockey League this year. Boudreau is the first coach to win both the Calder Cup and the Kelly Cup, having led Mississippi to the ECHL championship in 1999. Woods was a player/assistant coach for Mississippi from 1998-2001 and was head coach of the Sea Wolves from 2001-05.
The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the AHL and 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. Since 2002-03 the ECHL has had over 2,000 call-ups to the AHL involving more than 1,000 players which is more than the total call-ups for all other professional leagues combined during those five seasons.
In 2006-07 there were 91 players on an AHL contract who were assigned to a team in the ECHL. The ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the AHL, marking the sixth consecutive season that the ECHL had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the AHL.
The CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week award was won 14 times by a former ECHL player in 2006-07 while a former ECHL goaltender was named the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month the last five months of the season.
Six former ECHL players were on the All-AHL Teams in 2006-07 with former Charlotte goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who also won Goaltender of the Year; former Mississippi defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, who also was named Defenseman of the Year; and former Greenville center Martin St. Pierre being named to the First Team while former Roanoke and Wheeling left wing Jason Jaffray and former Florida center Keith Aucoin were named to the Second Team. Former Long Beach goaltender Jaroslav Halak was named to the AHL All-Rookie team and former Atlantic City and Trenton coach Mike Haviland was voted as the AHL Coach of the Year.