Sunday night the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators in game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals to become the first back-to-back Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings did it back in 1997-1998.
For the 17th consecutive year, the ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup Championship team. As rapper Drake, would put it, Players Josh Archibald, Tom Kuhnackl, Carter Rowney and Mark Streit started from the bottom and now their champs.
You may be thinking, well, Brian why the heck do I care about that? Grab some almonds and read on. By now you may have heard hockey is returning to Jacksonville in October 2017. The biggest difference between previous efforts of hockey in Jacksonville to now is that they will be playing in the ECHL. For the first time, ever Jacksonville will be affiliated with a National Hockey League team, that partnership is to be announced soon.
What is an ECHL? The ECHL is a mid-level professional ice hockey league with teams scattered across the United States and one franchise in Canada. Any player signed to an entry-level NHL contract and designated for assignment must report to a club in either the ECHL or the AHL, the AHL is like triple AAA baseball. The ECHL sits 1 league under the American Hockey League.
Random, but is there fighting in the ECHL? Why, yes there is. Rule 46 in the ECHL handbook states - “A fight shall be deemed to have occurred when at least one player punches or attempts to punch an opponent repeatedly or when two players wrestle in such a manner as to make it difficult for the Linesmen to intervene and separate the combatants.”
Jacksonville IceMen head coach Jason Christie told me earlier this week he would be in the market for a big tough guy.
So, to full circle this story, if you attend a Jacksonville IceMen game this fall, remember these guys, you may see them on national television years later lifting the cup like Mark Streit who played in Tallahassee when they had an ECHL team back in 1999.
Other ECHL-NHL facts: The Wheeling Nailers are the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The “AA” hockey league had affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the NHL in 2016-17, marking the 20th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams. The ECHL had 76 players on NHL opening-day rosters, marking the 14th year in a row there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
Follow me on twitter @BroadcastingBri for everything Jacksonville IceMen or to just say hello. If you haven’t got your season tickets yet please visit www.JacksonvilleIceMen.com you will see me at every game.