PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL has 79 players on National Hockey League opening-day rosters, surpassing the record 78 players a year ago and marking the eighth season in a row with more than 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL has former players on 28 of the 30 teams and has affiliations with 27 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 14th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
There are 30 coaches with an ECHL background working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau, New York Islanders head coach Scott Gordon, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and St. Louis Blues head coach Davis Payne while former ECHL player Dan Bylsma is head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It is the sixth 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.
There are 20 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2010-11 with David Banfield, Francis Charron, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers.
There have been 443 players who have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 35 in 2009-10. The ECHL has had 251 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. There have been 187 ECHL players have played their first game in the last five seasons for an average of more than 37 per year.
There were six players who played in the ECHL and the NHL in 2009-10: Kyle Calder with Bakersfield and Anaheim, Jeremy Duchesne with Kalamazoo and Philadelphia, Tomas Kana with Alaska and Columbus, Dan Sexton with Bakersfield and Anaheim, MacGregor Sharp with Bakersfield and Anaheim and Matt Zaba with Charlotte and the New York Rangers.
The ECHL was represented for the 10th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion with Chicago Blackhawks assistant coaches Mike Haviland and John Torchetti, developmental goaltending coach Wade Flaherty, senior director of hockey administration Al MacIsaac, general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard and scout Ryan Stewart. There were 35 former players and 14 former coaches on 15 of the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the fifth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the seventh consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
The first ECHL player to play in the NHL was Johnstown Chiefs goaltender and current New York Islanders head coach Scott Gordon, who played his first game with the Quebec Nordiques against Buffalo on Jan. 30, 1990. The 100th player honor is shared by Jean-Sebastian Aubin and Manny Legace, who both made their debut on Oct. 21, 1998 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, respectively. The 200th player was Brett McLean with the Chicago Blackhawks on Dec. 10, 2002 while the 300th player was David Liffiton with the New York Rangers on April 11, 2006 and the 400th was Phil Oreskovic on March 9, 2009 with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Former ECHL broadcasters working in the National Hockey League 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, Bob McElligott and John Michael of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Rob Simpson, who is a producer/host for The NHL Network.
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 and Kelly Murray are now with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals, respectively, while former ECHL director of communications Jason Rothwell is the creative director for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Former ECHL Coaches and Players On NHL Opening-Day Rosters:
Anaheim Ducks (Elmira Jackals) – Assistant coach Dave Farrish (Louisiana, 2001-04 and Pensacola, 2004-05), video coach Joe Trotta (Peoria, 2000-01), Troy Bodie (Stockton, 2006-07), Sheldon Brookbank (Mississippi, 2001-02), Jason Jaffray (IR) (Roanoke, 2002-03 and Wheeling, 2003-05), George Parros (Reading, 2004-05) and Dan Sexton (Bakersfield, 2009-10).
Atlanta Thrashers (Gwinnett Gladiators) – Associate coach John Torchetti (Carolina, 1988-89; Winston-Salem, 1989-91 and Greensboro, 1993-95), Eric Boulton (Charlotte, 1996-98; Florida, 1998-99 and Columbia, 2004-05) and Rich Peverley (South Carolina, 2004-05 and Reading, 2005-06).
Boston Bruins (Reading Royals) – Assistant coach Geoff Ward (Arkansas, 1999-00), Michael Ryder (Tallahassee, 2000-01 and Mississippi, 2001-02), Nolan Schaefer (Fresno, 2003-04), Tim Thomas (Birmingham, 1997-98) and Trent Whitfield (IR) (Hampton Roads, 1998-99).
Buffalo Sabres – Associate coach Brian McCutcheon (Columbus, 1996-97) and Patrick Lalime (Hampton Roads, 1994-95) .
Calgary Flames (Utah Grizzlies) – Assistant coach Jamie McLennan (Richmond, 1991-92), Raitis Ivanans (Pensacola, 1999-00; Toledo, 2001-02 and Baton Rouge, 2001-02) and Adam Pardy (Las Vegas, 2005-06).
Carolina Hurricanes (Florida Everblades) – Brett Carson (Florida, 2006-07), Joe Corvo (Hampton Roads, 1998-99), Patrick Dwyer (Gwinnett, 2004-05), Chad LaRose (Florida, 2003-04), Justin Peters (Florida, 2006-08) and Justin Pogge (Bakersfield, 2009-10).
Chicago Blackhawks (Toledo Walleye) – Assistant coach Mike Haviland (Richmond, 1990-91; Winston-Salem, 1990-91; Trenton, 1999-01 and 2004-05 and Atlantic City, 2001-04) and developmental goaltending coach Wade Flaherty (Greensboro, 1989-90).
Colorado Avalanche – Philippe Dupuis (Dayton, 2006-07), Cody McLeod (San Diego, 2005-06) and Daniel Winnik (Phoenix, 2006-07).
Columbus Blue Jackets – Assistant coach Bob Boughner (Toledo, 1991-92), Tomas Kana (IR) (Alaska, 2008-10) and Kyle Wilson (South Carolina, 2006-07).
Dallas Stars (Idaho Steelheads) – Assistant coach Charlie Huddy (Huntington, 1997-98), goaltending coach Mike Valley (Augusta, 1998-00; Louisiana, 1999-01; Wheeling, 2002-03 and Peoria, 2003-04), Krys Barch (Richmond, 2001-02 and Greenville, 2004-06) and Tom Wandell (Idaho, 2007-08).
Edmonton Oilers (Stockton Thunder) – Goaltending coach Frederic Chabot (Winston-Salem, 1991-92), Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (Greenville, 2004-06), Devan Dubnyk (Stockton, 2006-07) and Steve MacIntyre (Charlotte, 2003-06).
Florida Panthers (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Kenndal McArdle (Florida, 2007-08) and Tomas Voukon (Wheeling, 1995-96).
Los Angeles Kings (Ontario Reign) – Assistant coach Jamie Kompon (Hampton Roads, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Winston-Salem, 1990-91), Scott Parse (IR) (Reading, 2007-08), Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08) and Colten Teubert (IR) (Ontario, 2008-10).
Minnesota Wild (Bakersfield Condors) – Andrew Brunette (Hampton Roads, 1993-94) and Anton Khudobin (Texas, 2007-08 and Florida, 2008-09).
Montreal Canadiens (Wheeling Nailers) – Alex Auld (Columbia, 2001-02), Scott Gomez (Alaska, 2004-05) and Tom Pyatt (Charlotte, 2007-08).
Nashville Predators (Cincinnati Cyclones) – Assistant coach Peter Horachek (Nashville, 1990-91 and Trenton, 2001-02), Francis Bouillon (Wheeling, 1996-97) and Jerred Smithson (Trenton, 2000-01).
New Jersey Devils (Trenton Devils) – Johan Hedberg (Baton Rouge, 1997-98), Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (Trenton, 2006-08).
New York Islanders (Kalamazoo Wings) – Head coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown, 1988-89; Nashville, 1992-93; Knoxville, 1993-94 and Roanoke, 1998-00), assistant coach Scott Allen (Carolina, 1988-89; Winston-Salem, 1989-90; Erie, 1989-90; Greensboro, 1989-90; Cincinnati, 1990-91 and Johnstown, 1996-02), goaltending coach Mike Dunham (Gwinnett, 2005-06), Trevor Gillies (Mississippi, 1999-00; Greensboro, 2000-01; Augusta, 2001-02 and 2006-07; Richmond, 2001-03 and Peoria, 2002-03), Zenon Konopka (Wheeling, 2002-03 and Idaho, 2003-04), Andrew MacDonald (Utah, 2007-08), P.A. Parenteau (Augusta, 2005-06) and Mark Streit (IR) (Tallahassee, 1999-00).
New York Rangers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Video coach Jerry Dineen (Winston-Salem, 1990-92 and Raleigh, 1991-92), Martin Biron (South Carolina, 1997-98), Derek Boogaard (Louisiana, 2002-03), Ruslan Fedotenko (Trenton, 1999-00) and Dan Girardi (Charlotte, 2005-06).
Ottawa Senators (Elmira Jackals) – Chris Neil (Mobile, 1999-00).
Philadelphia Flyers (Greenville Road Warriors) – Head coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98), Daniel Carcillo (Wheeling, 2005-06), Jody Shelley (Johnstown, 1998-00) and Matt Walker (Peoria, 2000-01).
Phoenix Coyotes (Las Vegas Wranglers) – Paul Bissonnette (Wheeling, 2005-08), Vern Fiddler (Arkansas, 2000-01 and Roanoke, 2001-02), Jason LaBarbera (Charlotte, 2000-02) and Al Montoya (Charlotte, 2005-06).
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wheeling Nailers) – Head coach Dan Bylsma (Greensboro, 1992-94), assistant coach Todd Reirden (Raleigh, 1994-95; Tallahassee, 1994-95 and Jacksonville, 1995-96), Deryk Engelland (Las Vegas, 2003-05; South Carolina, 2005-06 and Reading, 2006-07) and Mark Letestu (Wheeling, 2007-08).
San Jose Sharks (Stockton Thunder) – Goalie coach Corey Schwab (Cincinnati, 1991-92), assistant coach Matt Shaw (Mobile, 1997-98), assistant coach Jay Woodcroft (Jackson, 1999-00) and Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07) .
St. Louis Blues (Alaska Aces) – Head coach Davis Payne (Greensboro, 1992-95; Greenville, 1998-00; Pee Dee, 2000-03 and Alaska, 2003-07), B.J. Crombeen (Idaho, 2005-07), Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06) and Tyson Strachan (Las Vegas, 2007-08).
Tampa Bay Lightning (Florida Everblades) – Assistant coach Dan Lacroix (Atlantic City, 2001-02), Dan Ellis (Idaho, 2003-04) and Mike Smith (Lexington, 2002-03).
Toronto Maple Leafs (Reading Royals) – Skating coach Graeme Townsend (Greensboro, 2001-02), Francois Beauchemin (Mississippi, 2001-02) and Jeff Finger (Reading, 2003-04).
Vancouver Canucks (Victoria Salmon Kings) – Alex Burrows (IR) (Greenville, 2002-03; Baton Rouge, 2002-03 and Columbia 2003-05) and Guillaume Desbiens (Gwinnett, 2005-06 and 2007-08).
Washington Capitals (South Carolina Stingrays) – Head coach Bruce Boudreau (Mississippi, 1996-99), assistant coach Bob Woods (Johnstown, 1990-94; Hampton Roads, 1995-96; Mobile, 1996-97; Tallahassee, 1997-98 and Mississippi, 1998-05), goaltending coach Arturs Irbe (Johnstown, 2003-04), Matt Hendricks (Florida, 2004-05), D.J. King (Alaska, 2005-06), Michal Neuvrith (South Carolina, 2008-09), Dany Sabourin (Johnstown, 2000-02 and Las Vegas, 2003-05), Tyler Sloan (Dayton, 2002-03 and 2004-05 and Las Vegas, 2005-06) and David Steckel (Reading, 2004-05)
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider” of the ECHL.
• Watch ECHL games around the clock on ECHL TV on B2CableTV.com.
• 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 19 teams in 14 states and British Columbia in 2010-11.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 21 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.