PRINCETON, N.J. – Four former ECHL players and a former ECHL official are in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. A former ECHL player has been part of the Stanley Cup Championship team in each of the past three years.
A veteran linesman in the National Hockey League since 1993-94, Tim Nowak, who is making his first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, began his officiating career in the ECHL.
Anaheim has three former ECHL players on its roster with Dan Bylsma, Cam Severson and Lance Ward. Bylsma, who previously appeared in the postseason with Los Angeles in 1998 and 2000, has appeared in each of Anaheim’s last five games and he scored his first career playoff point with an assist in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Severson appeared in his only Stanley Cup Playoff Game in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Ward has been a healthy scratch in each of Anaheim’s 15 games.
Bylsma played two seasons with the Greensboro Monarchs, scoring 60 points (25g-35a) in 60 games in 1992-93 and 30 points (14g-16a) in 25 games in 1993-94. Severson played in the ECHL in 1999-2000 scoring two points (0g-2a) in seven regular season games with Louisiana and 27 points (19g-8a) in 56 regular season games and seven points (3g-4a) in 18 postseason games while helping Peoria win the ECHL title. Ward scored one goal and had 12 PIMs in six regular season games with the Miami Matadors in 1998-99.
New Jersey has former ECHL player Corey Schwab, who made his Devils’ playoff debut in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, coming on in relief of Martin Brodeur and stopping all six shots he faced in 16:23. Schwab was 6-0-1 with a 4.13 goals against average and a .873 save percentage in eight games with Cincinnati in 1991-92.
There were 36 former ECHL players on the rosters and five former coaches behind the benches when the Stanley Cup Playoffs began, and 15 of the 16 teams had an ECHL representative. There have been 215 former ECHL players that have advanced to the NHL and 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League had affiliations with teams in the ECHL in 2002-03. There were 90 former ECHL players who played in the NHL in 2002-03 and 20 former ECHL players made their NHL debuts in 2002-03.