PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Friday announced that the coaches for the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game presented by University of Colorado Health will be Rob Murray of the Alaska Aces and Larry Courville of the Reading Royals.
The 2013 ECHL All-Star Week, presented by CCM, begins on Tuesday, Jan. 22 with the ECHL All-Star Skills Competition, presented by OtterBox, and continues with the ECHL All-Star Game, featuring the Colorado Eagles taking on the ECHL All-Stars, on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Both events begin at 7:05 p.m. MT at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.
Murray will serve as head coach for the game by virtue of the Aces having the ECHL’s top winning percentage through games of Dec. 30, 2012. Courville is the assistant coach for the game by virtue of the Royals having the top winning percentage in the opposite conference through games of Dec. 30, 2012.
Nine coaches from the ECHL All-Star Game have gone on to coach in the National Hockey League while more than 50 players from the contest have gone on to play in the NHL, including 36 since 2002 when the lineups began having players who coaches felt were prospects to move up to a higher level.
Alaska is 26-8-0, and leads the ECHL with 52 points and 26 wins while Reading is 23-7-2 for 48 points, which leads the Eastern Conference.
It is the first All-Star coaching appearance for both Murray and Courville. The record for All-Star appearances is three by Chris Cichocki, Glen Gulutzan, Davis Payne and Jeff Pyle.
The sixth class will be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame on Jan. 23, 2013 during a luncheon ceremony presented by BFL Canada at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, the official host hotel of the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game. Click here to download the ticket order form.
The past nine ECHL All-Star Games have generated more than $1 million each for the local economy as guests, players, coaches and fans occupy hundreds of hotel rooms and spend three days in the host city.
The game has been available on the NHL Network the last nine years as well as being broadcast on multiple regional networks. The audio broadcast has been carried on XM Satellite Radio as well as being available in all ECHL markets.
Rob Murray, Alaska Aces
Rob Murray is in second season as head coach of Alaska after being named to the position on July 13, 2011.
Prior to joining Alaska, Murray spent eight seasons with the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. He was the club’s assistant coach from 2003-08, working alongside former ECHL player and coach Scott Gordon. When Gordon was hired as head coach of the New York Islanders prior to the 2008-09 season, Murray was elevated to head coach in Providence. In his first season as head coach, Murray led the P-Bruins to a 43-29-8 record and a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals. He finished his three-year tenure with a 117-103-20 regular-season record. While in Providence, he coached seven players who went on to win the Stanley Cup with Boston in 2011.
Prior to his coaching career, Murray enjoyed a 16-year playing career that included 107 National Hockey League games with Washington, Winnipeg and Phoenix. Murray ranks seventh in American Hockey League history with 1,018 games played and is second with 2,940 career penalty minutes. Over 500 of his AHL games came with the Springfield Falcons, and he is that club’s all-time leader in games played, assists, career penalty minutes and single-season penalty minutes. Murray’s number 23 was retired by the Falcons, making him one of just two players in team history to have his jersey retired, alongside Hockey Hall of Famer Eddie Shore. Murray and his wife Carolyn have four children – Taylor, Zack, Quinn and Brendan.
Larry Courville, Reading Royals
Larry Courville is in his fourth full season as head coach and director of hockey operations for the Reading Royals. He was hired as an assistant coach on Dec. 5, 2006 and took over for Jason Nobili on Jan. 6, 2009 after the team began the season 9-23-2. The Royals removed the interim title on April 4, 2009 after the Royals went 15-19-3 in their final 38 games. In his first full season, Courville led the team to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2004 and in 2010-11, tied team records for wins (44) and points (93) in a season. Courville entered this season as the Royals’ all-time leader in regular-season games coached (254), playoff games coached (29), regular-season wins (132) and playoff wins (15).
Before taking over as the team’s sixth head coach, Courville was the general manager, facility director and hockey operations supervisor for an ice rink in Lancaster, Pa. The 37-year-old was the first inductee into the Reading Eagle Wall of Honor at the Sovereign Center which honors members of the Royals’ organization who have made distinctive contributions to the success of the team. On the day of his induction ceremony, Courville dressed for the Royals and scored a late goal to preserve a 5-3 win against Pensacola. He played his last four seasons for Reading and had 64 points (24g-40a) and 197 penalty minutes in 152 games from 2004-08.
Courville was selected in the fifth round (119th overall) by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1993 National Hockey League Entry Draft and in the third round (61st overall) by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He played parts of three seasons in the NHL with Vancouver and had three points (1g-2a) and 16 penalty minutes in 33 games. He played seven seasons in the American Hockey League and had 220 points (90g-130a) and 751 penalty minutes in 407 games for Cincinnati, Hershey, Kentucky and Syracuse and 15 points (6g-9a) and 52 penalty minutes in 29 playoff games for Kentucky and Syracuse. He played six seasons in the ECHL and had 96 points (36g-60a) and 264 penalty minutes in 190 regular season games and seven points (2g-5a) and 20 penalty minutes in nine Kelly Cup Playoff games for Johnstown and Reading.
Before turning professional he helped Team Canada capture two gold medals including at the 1995 World Junior U-20 tournament where Canada did not lose a game. He and his wife, Shannon, live in Palmyra, Pa. with their daughters, MaKenna and Morgan, and son, Mason.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 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 in 16 states in 2012-13.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• 490 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.
• The ECHL has had 298 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.
• 234 ECHL players have played their first game in the last seven seasons for an average of more than 33 per year.
• ECHL had a record 81 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2011-12, surpassing the 79 from 2010-11 and marking the ninth year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
• 31 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. 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.
• 26 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
• ECHL was represented for the 12th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. Quick was named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the second consecutive year a former ECHL player won the award.. There were 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the seventh year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• ECHL was represented in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game by Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.
• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.
• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,281 fans per game in 2011-12, marking the eighth consecutive season and the 20th time in the last 22 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.