PRINCETON, N.J. - For the second year in a row there have been more than 400 call-ups from the ECHL to the American Hockey League and there have been more than 225 players that have played in both the ECHL and the AHL. The last eight seasons have seen more than 350 call-ups involving over 200 players each year.
Through Tuesday, there had been 408 call-ups from the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League to the AHL involving 239 players which is an average of more than 16 call-ups for each of the 25 teams. There were eight teams who had more than 20 call-ups while 15 others had 15 or more call-ups.
A call-up is defined as a player who is reassigned by a National Hockey League team, recalled by an AHL team or loaned by an ECHL team to an AHL team, and an individual player can experience multiple call-ups.
In the last two seasons, the ECHL has had more than 800 call-ups involving more than 500 players. Since 2002-03 the ECHL has had over 2,000 call-ups to the AHL involving more than 1,000 players which is more than the total call-ups for all other professional leagues combined during those five seasons.
Reading has the most call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL with 35 while Charlotte was second with 27 call-ups and Johnstown and Augusta tied for third with 26 call-ups each. Johnstown had the most players called up to the AHL with 20 followed by Reading with 18 and Augusta and Florida tied for third with 15 apiece. Reading, Texas and Trenton each had call ups to eight different teams in the AHL while Cincinnati and Toledo each had call ups to six different teams.
In 2006-07 there were 91 players on an AHL contract who were assigned to a team in the ECHL. The ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 27 teams in the AHL, marking the sixth consecutive season that the ECHL had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the AHL.
The CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week award was won 14 times by a former ECHL player in 2006-07 while a former ECHL goaltender was named the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month the last five months of the season.
Six former ECHL players were on the All-AHL Teams in 2006-07 with former Charlotte goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who also won Goaltender of the Year; former Mississippi defenseman Sheldon Brookbank, who also was named Defenseman of the Year; and former Greenville center Martin St. Pierre being named to the First Team while former Roanoke and Wheeling left wing Jason Jaffray and former Florida center Keith Aucoin were named to the Second Team. Former Long Beach goaltender Jaroslav Halak was named to the AHL All-Rookie team and former Atlantic City and Trenton coach Mike Haviland was voted as the AHL Coach of the Year.
In 2006-07 there were 130 players on an NHL contract who were assigned to a team in the ECHL. The ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the NHL, marking the 10th season in a row that the ECHL had affiliations with 20 or more teams in the NHL.
There were 26 former ECHL players that made their NHL debut in 2006-07, including two who played in both the ECHL and the NHL - Yutaka Fukufuji (Reading and Los Angeles) and Bryan Young (Stockton and Edmonton). Dave McKee played for Augusta and dressed as a backup goaltender for five games with Anaheim.
Since the league began in 1988-89, there have been 329 players who have played in the NHL after they played in the ECHL including 184 who have played their first NHL game in the last five seasons. In 2006-07 there were two NHL head coaches (Peter Laviolette and Jim Playfair) and nine assistant coaches with ECHL experience and 106 former ECHL players played in the NHL as all 30 teams again had an ECHL player take the ice. There have been more than 50 former ECHL players on the opening day rosters for teams in the NHL each of the past four seasons, including a record 57 in 2006-07.