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2009 ECHL Hall Of Fame Class Is Brophy, Cullen, Nemeth, Taylor

November 25, 2008 - ECHL (ECHL) News Release

PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL on Tuesday announced that the 2009 inductees for the ECHL Hall of Fame are John Brophy, Blake Cullen, Tom Nemeth and Rod Taylor.

The four will be formally inducted at a luncheon ceremony that will be held in conjunction with the 17th Annual ECHL All-Star Game on Jan. 21, 2009 in Reading, Pa.

"This is an outstanding and very worthy group of inductees with a diverse background," said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. "John Brophy is a legend in professional hockey who has left his mark at all levels. The fact that he is second all time to Scotty Bowman in career wins says a lot about his longevity and competitive nature.

"Blake Cullen played a pivotal role in the early development of the ECHL and is well respected as a builder and administrator in both baseball and hockey circles," said McKenna. "Rod Taylor was one of the most prolific goal scorers in league history and Tom Nemeth was a perennial ECHL All-Star and a consistent point-producing defenseman throughout his career."

Brophy won a record three ECHL titles with Hampton Roads in 1991, 1992 and 1998. He has coached at all levels of professional hockey, including the National Hockey League, and his more than 1,000 coaching victories rank him second all-time to Scotty Bowman. He retired as the ECHL leader for regular season games (882), regular season wins (480) and years coached (13). He holds the league records for postseason games (94), postseason wins (55), postseason appearances (11) and championships (3). The "Coach of the Year" award is named in his honor. Brophy coached Hampton Roads (1989-2000) and Wheeling (2001-03).

Cullen was the founder and owner of the Hampton Roads Admirals for the team's first seven seasons in the ECHL. The Admirals advanced to the playoffs every year and won back-to-back Riley Cup championships in their second and third seasons. Hampton Roads drew more than 1.8 million fans during his tenure and led the league in attendance in 1989-90 and 1992-93 while ranking among the attendance leaders every year.

Nemeth won the ECHL Defenseman of the Year award three times and was selected First Team All-ECHL three years. He holds the ECHL records for assists and points by a defenseman in a season with 82 assists and 98 points in 1993-94. He is third all-time among defensemen with 345 assists and 463 points and he led all defensemen in 2000-01 with 20 goals, 48 assists and 68 points. He played in the ECHL All-Star Game in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 2001, tying him for the third-most appearances. Nemeth played for Dayton (1992-94 and 1996-2003), South Carolina (1994-95) and Toledo (2003-04).

Taylor is the ECHL career leader with 368 goals and holds the record for most 30-goal seasons (8) and most consecutive 30-goal seasons (6). He played all but 19 of his professional games in the ECHL. He retired as the all-time leader in points (689) and games (678) and remains second in scoring and fourth in games. He helped Hampton Roads win the Riley Cup as a rookie in 1992, scoring a league record tying 16 goals in 14 games, and the Kelly Cup in 1998. He is third in career postseason goals (39) and tied for sixth in postseason games (78). Taylor played for Hampton Roads (1991-2000), Richmond (2000-02), Roanoke (2001-02), Peoria (2002-03), South Carolina (2002-03) and Toledo (2002-03).

They join the inaugural class of Henry Brabham, Patrick J. Kelly, Chris Valicevic and Nick Vitucci. Inductees are enshrined in the ECHL Hall of Fame, which is open around the clock online at, as well as being recognized at the league office in Princeton, N.J. and in the ECHL section at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.

The third-longest tenured professional hockey league, behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the Premier 'AA' Hockey League has grown from five teams in four states in 1988-89 into a coast-to-coast league with 23 teams playing in 16 states and British Columbia in 2008-09.

Hall of Fame members are selected in four categories: Player, Developmental Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. Players must have concluded their career as an active player for a minimum of three playing seasons, though not continuous or full seasons. Development Players must have began their career in the ECHL and went on to a distinguished career in the NHL, playing a minimum of 260 regular season games in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. Builders may be active or inactive whereas Referee/Linesman must have concluded their active officiating career for a minimum of three playing seasons.

No more than five candidates may be elected to the ECHL Hall of Fame each year with no more than three Players, one Developmental Player, two Builders and one Referee/Linesman. The Developmental Player, Builder and the Referee/Linesman categories are dependent upon the number of candidates in the Player category.

The nomination and/or selection of candidates will be determined by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee and its Chairman Patrick J. Kelly.

Only members of the Selection Committee, the Board of Governors, teams or persons affiliated with the ECHL may submit official nominations which must be made in writing to the league office. Fans are encouraged to contact their team to propose names for nomination.

Premier 'AA' Hockey League Fast Facts
Watch games live on B2 Networks, the "Official Broadband Broadcast Provider" of the ECHL.
- The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
- Affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League marking 12th consecutive season that the league has had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.
- 368 former ECHL players have played in NHL.
- 112 have played their first NHL game in the last four seasons.
- 13 former ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season: former Wheeling Nailers and ECHL All-Star defenseman Paul Bissonnette (Pittsburgh on Oct. 4), former Greenville Grrrowl goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers (Edmonton on Oct. 17), former Gwinnett Gladiators right wing Pat Dwyer (Carolina on Nov. 2), former Columbus Cottonmouths and Tallahassee Tiger Sharks left wing Mitch Fritz (New York Islanders on Oct. 30), former Charlotte Checkers center Dwight Helminen (Carolina on Oct. 28), former Trenton Devils right wing Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (New Jersey on Oct. 22), former Charlotte Checkers defenseman Steve MacIntyre (Edmonton on Oct. 15), former Phoenix RoadRunners and Wheeling Nailers center Cam Paddock (St. Louis on Nov. 14), former Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Adam Pardy (Calgary on Oct. 9), former Gwinnett Gladiators center Jared Ross (Philadelphia on Oct. 11), former Alaska Aces goaltender Marek Schwarz (St. Louis on Oct. 25), former Dayton Bombers and Las Vegas Wranglers defenseman Tyler Sloan (Washington on Oct. 21) and former Augusta Lynx defenseman Brett Skinner (New York Islanders on Oct. 27).
- There were 72 former ECHL players on NHL opening-day rosters.
- Twenty-six former ECHL players made their NHL debut in 2007-08, including six who played in both the ECHL and the NHL as goaltender Chris Beckford-Tseu (Alaska and St. Louis), Adam Berti (Pensacola and Chicago), Joe Jensen (Wheeling and Carolina), Dan LaCosta (Elmira and Columbus), Jonathan Quick (Reading and Los Angeles) and Danny Taylor (Reading and Los Angeles).
- Record 47 former ECHL players played their first NHL game in 2005-06.
- ECHL is represented for the eighth consecutive year on the National Hockey League championship team in 2008 by Aaron Downey of the Detroit Red Wings.
- Former ECHL coaches working as head coaches in the NHL are Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals, Scott Gordon of the New York Islanders and Peter Laviolette of the Carolina Hurricanes. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award. Laviolette, who began his coaching career with the Wheeling Nailers, led Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup in 2006.
- There are 18 assistant coaches in the NHL who were players or coaches in the ECHL.
- There are 18 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2008-09 with referees David Banfield, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O'Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak and Jay Sharrers. Barton, Joannette, Leggo, McCauley, Nowak, Pollock, Rooney and Sharrers all worked the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
- ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 29 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 19 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
- In the last six 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.
- Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at

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