PRINCETON, N.J. – The rosters for the four teams in the 2004 Stanley Cup Conference Finals have 12 players with ECHL experience while Jim Playfair, who was head coach of Dayton from 1993-95, is an assistant coach with Calgary. The ECHL was represented by more than 30 players and six coaches when the postseason began and all 16 teams had an ECHL player on their roster.
The Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals open on Saturday with Tampa Bay hosting Philadelphia while the Stanley Cup Western Conference Finals open on Sunday with San Jose hosting Calgary.
Tampa Bay radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin and assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze both began their careers in the ECHL with Johnstown. In his second season with the Lightning, Mishkin began his broadcasting career in 1991-92 with Johnstown in the ECHL and spent three years doing radio for the Chiefs. A graduate of Hilltop High School in Johnstown, Heinze was the Chiefs equipment manager from 1988-92 and 1995-99.
In addition to Mishkin and Heinze, the Lightning has eight players on its roster, including Ryan Craig, Brian Eklund and Jean-Francois Soucy, who all played for Pensacola of the ECHL in 2003-04. The other ECHL players on Tampa Bay’s playoff roster are Ruslan Fedotenko (Trenton, 99-00), Timo Helbling (Toledo, 02-03), Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 95-96), Andre Roy (Charlotte, 97-98) and Pascal Trepanier (Dayton, 94-95).
San Jose media relations manager Scott Emmert had his first full-time media relations position in the ECHL with Chesapeake in 1998-99 while Dimitri Patzold, who played for Johnstown in 2003-04, is listed on San Jose’s playoff roster.
Brent Krahn, who played for Las Vegas of the ECHL in 2003-04, is listed on Calgary’s roster and Todd Fedoruk, who played for Trenton in 1999-2000, is on Philadelphia’s playoff roster.
For the fourth consecutive year, a former ECHL player was a member of the Stanley Cup Champion. In 2003, New Jersey backup goaltender Corey Schwab became the sixth ECHL alumnus to hoist the Stanley Cup joining Manny Legace (Detroit, 2002), David Aebischer and Nolan Pratt (Colorado, 2001), Krzysztof Oliwa (New Jersey, 2000), and Kevin Dean (New Jersey, 1995).
In 2003-04 there were 40 ECHL players that played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, surpassing the high of 27 players in 1999-2000 and 2000-01. Eleven players, including eight goaltenders, appeared in both the ECHL and the NHL in 2003-04, breaking the high of five players in 2001-02, and a total of 108 ECHL players played in the NHL in 2003-04. The ECHL has affiliations with 21 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2003-04 and every NHL team had an ECHL player play for it in 2003-04.
ECHL Coaches, Players, Personnel In Stanley Cup Conference Finals
Calgary – Assistant Coach Jim Playfair (Dayton, 93-95), Krzysztof Oliwa (Raleigh, 94-96) and Brent Krahn (Las Vegas, 03-04).
Philadelphia – Todd Fedoruk (Trenton, 99-00).
San Jose – Media relations manager Scott Emmert (Chesapeake, 1998-99) and Dimitri Patzold (Johnstown, 03-04).
Tampa Bay – Radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin (Johnstown, 1991-94), assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze (Johnstown, 1988-92 and 1995-99), Ryan Craig (Pensacola, 03-04), Brian Eklund (Pensacola, 03-04), Ruslan Fedotenko (Trenton, 99-00), Timo Helbling (Toledo, 02-03), Nolan Pratt (Richmond, 95-96), Andre Roy (Charlotte, 97-98), Jean-Francois Soucy (Pensacola, 03-04) and Pascal Trepanier (Dayton, 94-95).