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AHL champion Chicago has five former ECHL players

Sunday, June 26th
Photo of 2022 Calder Cup champion Chicago Wolves

For the 31st season in a row the ECHL is represented on the American Hockey League champion as five of the 23 players who played for the Chicago Wolves in the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs played in the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League.

There have been 142 former ECHL players on the last 16 AHL champions.

The ECHL has had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the AHL the last 21 years. The Norfolk Admirals served as the ECHL affiliate for Chicago during the 2021-22 season.

Former ECHL players who captured the 2022 Calder Cup title are Josh Jacobs (Adirondack, 2016-17), Max Lajoie (Brampton, 2017-18), Kyle Marino (Wheeling, 2020-21 and Idaho, 2021-22), Stelio Mattheos (Fort Wayne, 2020-21) and Spencer Smallman (Florida, 2017-18; Greenville, 2018-19 and Fort Wayne, 2020-21). Chicago Head Coach Ryan Warsofsky was head coach of the South Carolina Stingrays from 2016-18 after serving three seasons as the club’s assistant coach while Assistant Coach Patrick Dwyer skated in 14 games with the Gwinnett Gladiators during the 2004-05 season. The Wolves’ play-by-play announcer, Jason Shaver, spent two seasons in a similar role with the Texas Wildcatters from 2003-05.

Eight of the 24 players on the runner-up Springfield Thunderbirds had ECHL experience with Drew Callin (Worcester, 2018-20 and 2021-22 and Rapid City, 2020-21), Tommy Cross (South Carolina, 2012-13), Dakota Joshua (Tulsa, 2019-20), Tanner Kaspick (Tulsa, 2018-19), Griffin Luce (Rapid City, 2020-21), Nathan Todd (Quad City, 2016-17 and Brampton, 2017-20), Keean Washkurak (Worcester, 2021-22) and Josh Wesley (Florida, 2016-19; Maine, 2018-19 and Tulsa, 2019-20).

During the 2021-22 season, 423 ECHL players were recalled to the American Hockey League for a total of 829 recalls. The Worcester Railers led the ECHL with 27 players recalled and 56 overall recalls.

Eleven times in the last 22 years the winner of the AHL Coach of the Year award has been a former ECHL coach including former South Carolina Stingrays’ head coach Spencer Carbery, who won the award in 2020-21, and former Reading Royals and Ontario Reign head coach Karl Taylor, who won the award in 2019-20. Former Roanoke Valley Rebels’ and Richmond Renegades’ head coach Roy Sommer, won the award in 2016-17 while former Trenton Devils’ coach Rick Kowalsky, a 2017 inductee into the ECHL Hall of Fame, won the award in 2015-16. Former ECHL coaches Scott Gordon and Mike Haviland won the award in back-to-back years in 2006 and 2007. Former ECHL coaches won the award four consecutive years from 2001-04 with Don Granato, Bruce Cassidy, Geoff Ward and Claude Noel. The first former ECHL coach to win the award was Peter Laviolette in 1999.

For the 15th season in a row at least six former ECHL players were named AHL Player of the Week with former Toledo Walleye forward Martin Frk, former Orlando Solar Bears’ forward Jimmy Huntington, former Adirondack Thunder and Orlando Solar Bears’ goaltender Connor Ingram, former Cincinnati Cyclones’ goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and former Atlanta Gladiators’ goaltender Zane McIntyre.

Twelve of the 31 head coaches in the American Hockey League during the 2021-22 season previously served as coaches in the ECHL with Bakersfield’s Colin Chaulk, Belleville’s Troy Mann, Bridgeport’s Brent Thompson, Chicago’s Ryan Warsofsky, Grand Rapids’ Ben Simon, Hershey’s Scott Allen, Laval’s Jean-Francois Houle, Manitoba’s Mark Morrison, Milwaukee’s Karl Taylor, Providence’s Ryan Mougenel, San Jose’s Roy Sommer and Texas’ Neil Graham.

Former ECHL broadcasters working in the American Hockey League during the 2021-22 season included Ryan Holt of the Bakersfield Condors, Alan Fuehring of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Jason Shaver of the Chicago Wolves, Tony Brown of the Cleveland Monsters, Kevin McGlue of the Colorado Eagles, Brian McCormack of the Henderson Silver Knights, Zack Fisch of the Hershey Bears, Bob Rotruck of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Jared Shafran of the Ontario Reign, Joseph Zakrzewski of the Rockford IceHogs, Andy Zilch of the San Diego Gulls, Mark Binetti of the Stockton Heat, Lukas Favale of the Syracuse Crunch, John Peterson of the Texas Stars, Adrian Denny of the Tucson Roadrunners and Jason Shaya of the Utica Comets.

Thirty-eight of the 71 referees working in the American Hockey League in 2021-22, came from the ECHL, while 95 of the 169 linesmen in the AHL have worked games in the ECHL.

About the ECHL

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 34th season in 2021-22. There have been 727 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 29 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2021-22 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 27 of the 32 NHL teams in 2021-22, marking the 25th consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

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