Starting Saturday, 10 former ECHL players and two coaches will represent their respective countries in the World Cup of Hockey. The ECHL is represented on five of the tournament’s eight teams.
The United States and Team Europe have the most players out of all teams with four ECHL alumni. Following them is Czech Republic with two former ECHL players and behind them are Canada and Finland with one former ECHL player each.
Former ECHL coach and executive Jack Capuano and former player and coach Scott Gordon will be on the United States bench as assistant coaches during the tournament. Capuano served as an assistant coach with the Tallahassee Tiger Sharks during the 1996-97 season before being hired as head coach of the Knoxville Cherokees. Capuano moved with the Cherokees to Pee Dee and remained head coach from 1997-2001.
Gordon was the first ECHL player to advance to the National Hockey League. He was a goaltender with the Johnstown Chiefs in the ECHL’s first season in 1988-89 before making his debut with the with the Quebec Nordiques on Jan. 30, 1990. Gordon would return to the ECHL with Nashville in 1992-93 and Knoxville in 1993-94. He would then serve as head coach of the Roanoke Express for two seasons from 1998-2000.
A native of Anchorage, AK, Brandon Dubinsky played in 17 games for the hometown Alaska Aces during the lockout-shortened season of 2012-13. In those games, he collected 16 points (9G, 7A) and was a +3.
Two-time Stanley Cup Champion goaltender Jonathan Quick is the only goaltender on the United States roster to play in the ECHL. Quick appeared in 38 games for the Reading Royals during the 2007-08 season, going 23-11-3 with a 2.79 goals against average and collected a shutout. The native of Milford, CT is one of 10 ECHL goaltenders to score a goal in a game.
All three of the goaltenders on Team Europe’s roster have ECHL experience. Thomas Greiss played in three games with Fresno in 2006-07. Greiss has appeared in 130 career NHL games with the Islanders, San Jose, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. Philipp Grubauer spent time with the South Carolina Stingrays and Reading Royals from 2011 to 2013, appearing in 69 games and sporting a 42-18-6 record. He earned a spot on the ECHL All-Rookie Team while with South Carolina in 2011-12 and was the starting goaltender for the ECHL All-Star Game with Reading. Jaroslav Halak played 20 games with the Long Beach Ice Dogs in 2005-06. He posted an 11-4-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.05 goals-against average and a save percentage of .932. The only former ECHL forward on Team Europe is Mark Streit, who played in 16 games with Tallahassee during the 1999-2000 season. Streit has tallied 407 points (90g-317a) in 716 career NHL games split between Montreal, the New York Islanders and Philadelphia.
Goaltenders Petr Mrazek and Michal Neuvirth are the only two ECHL alumni on the Czech Republic roster. Mrazek made his professional debut with the Toledo Walleye in 2012-13, playing three games, posting 2-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a save percentage of .944. Neuvirth played in 13 games with the South Carolina Stingrays during the 2008-09 season. He also earned a spot in the ECHL All-Star Game in 2009.
Braden Holtby is the only ECHL alum on the Canada but is the third from South Carolina. Holtby played in the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game while with the Stingrays and is the 2015-16 recipient of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender.
The last ECHL alumni and the only one on the Finland roster is Mikko Koskinen. Koskinen played in six games with Utah during the 2009-10 season. There he posted a 6-0-0 record with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
ECHL Representatives – World Cup of Hockey
Canada – Braden Holtby (South Carolina, 2009-10)
Czech Republic – Petr Mrazek (Toledo, 2012-13) and Michal Neuvirth (South Carolina, 2008-09)
Finland – Mikko Koskinen (Utah, 2009-10)
Team Europe – Thomas Greiss (Fresno, 2006-07), Philipp Grubauer (South Carolina, 2011-12 and Reading, 2012-13), Jaroslav Halak (Long Beach, 2005-06) and Mark Streit (Tallahassee, 1999-00)
United States – Assistant Coach Jack Capuano (Tallahassee, 1996-97; Knoxville, 1996-97 and Pee Dee, 1997-2005), Assistant Coach Scott Gordon (Johnstown, 1988-89; Nashville, 1992-93; Knoxville, 1993-94 and Roanoke, 1998-2000), Brandon Dubinsky (Alaska, 2012-13) and Jonathan Quick (Reading, 2007-08)