DETROIT, Mich. – The Detroit Red Wings have signed left wing Peter Vandermeer, who began his professional career in the ECHL. His brother, Dan Vandermeer, helped Idaho capture the 2004 ECHL Kelly Cup Championship.
In his rookie season in 1996-97, the 6-0 and 210-pound Peter Vandermeer scored 17 points (6g-11a) and had 195 penalty minutes in 30 regular season games and scored three points (2g-1a) and had 25 penalty minutes in seven playoff games with Columbus (Ohio). Vandermeer returned to the ECHL in 1997-98, scoring 11 points (4g-7a) with 78 penalty minutes in 20 games with Columbus (Ohio) and seven points (2g-5a) with 165 penalty minutes in 18 games with Richmond. He also played in the American Hockey League in 1997-98, scoring six points (4g-2a) with 140 penalty minutes in 30 regular season games and one goal with 13 penalty minutes in four playoff games with Rochester.
In 1999-2000 with Richmond of the ECHL, Vandermeer registered career professional bests in goals (31), assists (25), points (56) and penalty minutes (457) in 58 regular season games while also registering an assist and 20 penalty minutes in three playoff games. He led the league in penalty minutes while leading the team in power-play goals with 15, tying him for fourth in the league. He also played two games with Trenton in 2001-02, registering an assist and two penalty minutes.
The 28-year-old Vandermeer led the AHL in penalty minutes each of the past two seasons with Philadelphia, finishing with 398 penalty minutes in 2003-04 and 335 penalty minutes in 2002-03. He led the United Hockey League in penalty minutes in 390 penalty minutes in 1998-99.
Vandermeer has 897 penalty minutes and 92 points (43g-49a) in 128 career regular season ECHL games and 46 penalty minutes and four points (2g-2a) in 10 career ECHL playoff games. He has 1,449 penalty minutes and 76 points (39g-37a) in 307 career regular season AHL games and 106 penalty minutes and six points (3g-3a) in 50 career AHL playoff games.
There were former ECHL coaches behind the benches of 14 of the 28 teams in the American Hockey League and all 28 teams in the AHL had an ECHL player take the ice for them in 2003-04. The ECHL had affiliation agreements with 21 of the 28 teams in the AHL and there were over 90 players on AHL contracts in the ECHL in 2003-04. There were more than 220 players that played in both the ECHL and the AHL in 2003-04 and the ECHL had 425 call-ups, involving 234 players, to the AHL during the regular season.
For the 15th consecutive season, an ECHL player is a member of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Champion. In addition to Claude Noel, who is in his first season as head coach, Milwaukee had eight players and radio announcer Kyle Schultz, who are all alumni of the ECHL.