Wheeling, Idaho Win
ECHL Web Site Of The Year

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the web sites of the Wheeling Nailers (Wheelingnailers.com) and the Idaho Steelheads (IdahoSteelheads.com) have been selected as the recipients of the ECHL Web Site of the Year Award for 2006-07.

The ECHL team web sites were reviewed by Rich Libero, who is in his eighth year as Vice President of Editorial & Production for NHL.com, the official web site of the National Hockey League.

Wheeling finished ahead of the Augusta Lynx (AugustaLynx.com) and the Columbia Inferno (ColumbiaInferno.com) in the American Conference while Idaho finished ahead of the Stockton Thunder (StocktonThunder.com) and the Alaska Aces (AlaskaAces.com) in the National Conference.

“Wheeling has a smartly-designed compact site with lots of content, a fan account management area and local news links,” said Libero. “The multimedia section is well organized and chat rooms are available during games.”

Wheeling’s web site was designed by director of corporate sales Craig Bommer, who is also responsible for the site’s maintenance with assistance from members of the front office staff. The web site is hosted by Quickhost in St. Clarisville, Ohio while Wheeling-based StratusWave Communications handles the audio streaming.

“Idaho has a navigation and page layout that is a bit different, but it works,” said Libero. “I like the insider content on the left rail and important game-related information at the top of the page. The Steelheads do a good job of keeping content above the fold as well as getting video highlights right on the home page.”

Idaho’s web site was designed by Boise-based es/drake and it utilizes cutting-edge technology to allow fans to interact with the Steelheads in exciting new ways while also offering the convenience of printing tickets at home. Steelheads marketing director Nick St. John helped create the look of the web site while creative director Matt Stevens, communications director Bonnie Way Snider and broadcasting manager Joe O’Donnell are all responsible for maintaining the web site.

ECHL Web Site Award Winners

Year Team
2006-07 Wheeling Nailers and Idaho Steelheads
2005-06 Phoenix RoadRunners
2004-05 Bakersfield Condors

The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league that will have 25 teams playing in 17 states and British Columbia in 2007-08, including the Mississippi (Biloxi) Sea Wolves, who return after missing two seasons in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Opening Day for the 20th Anniversary Season will be Oct. 18 when the Johnstown Chiefs host the Wheeling Nailers at Cambria County War Memorial. The game is a rematch of Game 7 from the first-ever ECHL Finals played in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Cambria County War Memorial. The two teams will wear throwback jerseys for the Opening Day game that begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast worldwide on B2 Networks, the “Official Broadband Broadcast Provider of the ECHL”. The remaining teams will open their seasons the weekend of Oct. 19-21.

There have been 329 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 26 in 2006-07. There have been 184 former ECHL players who have played their first game in the NHL in the past five seasons and 107 former ECHL players have skated in the NHL this season. More than 100 players under contract to NHL teams have played in the ECHL this season.

The ECHL is represented for the seventh consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2007 with Anaheim assistant coach Dave Farrish, players Francois Beauchemin and George Parros and broadcasters John Ahlers and Steve Carroll.The ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2006-07 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup champion.

In each of the last two seasons there have been more than 225 players who have played in both the ECHL and the AHL and there were over 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players.

In the last five seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 2,000 call-ups involving more than 1,000 players since 2002-03.

2008 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition will be hosted by Stockton Thunder, City of Stockton and Stockton Arena on Jan. 22-23, 2008.

Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.