Rick Kowalsky named to 2017 ECHL Hall of Fame Class

ECHL release:

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Wednesday that the 2017 inductees for the ECHL Hall of Fame are T. Paul Hendrick, Rick Kowalsky and Brad Phillips.
The three will be formally inducted as the 10th class of the ECHL Hall of Fame at a luncheon ceremony that will be held in conjunction with the 2017 CCM / ECHL All-Star Classic presented by I LOVE NY. The 2017 ECHL Hall of Fame luncheon, presented by BFL CANADA and Sutton Special Risk, will take place on Wednesday, January 18 at 12 Noon, at the Fort William Henry Hotel in Lake George, New York. The event will feature Neil Smith, former General Manager of the Adirondack Red Wings – who brought the team a Calder Cup championship in both 1986 and 1989, and who went on to serve as the General Manager of the 1994 Stanley Cup winning New York Rangers – delivering the keynote welcome.

“This year’s class of inductees is certainly the most diverse in the 10 years of the ECHL Hall of Fame,” ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna said. “Rick Kowalsky is recognized as one of the best all-around players in League history. Brad Phillips was an incredibly dedicated and consistent linesman throughout his career and Paul Hendrick’s behind-the-scenes contribution to the League structure, governance and stability is immeasurable. All three have made significant and valuable contributions to the ECHL.

T. Paul Hendrick has served as the ECHL’s General Counsel since the 1994-95 season. He began his association with the ECHL during the League’s inaugural season in 1988-89 when he represented the Carolina Thunderbirds. He continued to serve as counsel for the Thunderbirds after their move to Wheeling in 1992, and also represented the Raleigh IceCaps upon their entrance to the ECHL in 1991. Hendrick has been instrumental in the guidance and foundation of building the league including the acquisition of expansion teams from the former West Coast Hockey League in 2002 and the Central Hockey League in 2014 and has played a significant role in League structure, governing documents and labor relations. In addition to representing the ECHL, Hendrick has also represented NASCAR; Kyle Petty, Richard Petty and Petty Enterprises; various NFL players, including Tony Dorsett; and the property ownership trust of the Atlanta Falcons. He is a current member and past chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Rick Kowalsky enjoyed a 10-year playing career in the ECHL, appearing in 516 career games with Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Trenton. He is tied for 30th all-time in League history in games played while ranking 19th with 221 goals, 21st with 329 assists and tied for 15th with 550 points. He participated in a pair of ECHL All-Star Games – in 1995 and 2003 – and enjoyed his best years late in his career, earning All-ECHL First Team honors with Roanoke in 2001-02 and earning a spot on the All-ECHL Second Team in 2002-03. Kowalsky also enjoyed considerable postseason success, scoring 32 goals, which is tied for seventh in ECHL playoff history, and adding 30 assists in 68 postseason games. He ended his playing career by captaining Trenton to the 2005 Kelly Cup title, then returned to the Titans in 2006-07 as the team’s head coach, going 138-122-28 over four seasons and winning the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year in 2009. Kowalsky is in his seventh season as head coach of the American Hockey League’s Albany Devils, and last season, joined Claude Noel as the only two individuals to win Coach of the Year honors in both the ECHL and AHL.

Brad Phillips ranks as one of the best on-ice officials to ever work in the ECHL. The linesman worked 15 years in the League, and is one of just three officials – along with 2011 ECHL Hall of Fame inductee Joe Ernst and former linesman Norm Eberle – to work at least 1,000 ECHL games. He was selected to work the 2001 ECHL All-Star Game in Arkansas, and he served as a linesman during nine Kelly Cup Finals, the most of any linesman in ECHL history. Following the 2012-13 season, he received the Ryan Birmingham Memorial Award in a vote of his fellow on-ice officials. The award honors an official for his contributions and dedication to the league officiating staff and is named in honor of ECHL linesman Ryan Birmingham who tragically lost his life in an automobile accident in May 2007. He comes only the second on-ice official to be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame.

Individual luncheon tickets can be purchased now, based upon availability, for $30 by contacting Sean Driscoll, Director of Ticket Sales for the Adirondack Thunder at (518) 480-3344 x-1. A table of 10 may be purchased for $300 by contacting Cameron Close, Director of Corporate Sales or by visiting the Adirondack Thunder Front Office at the Glen St. Entrance of the Glens Falls Civic Center.

The inaugural ECHL Hall of Fame class inducted in 2008 was Henry Brabham, Patrick J. Kelly, Chris Valicevic and Nick Vitucci while the second class in 2009 was John Brophy, Blake Cullen, Tom Nemeth and Rod Taylor. The 2010 ECHL Hall of Fame class was Cam Brown, E.A. “Bud” Gingher, Olaf Kolzig and Darryl Noren; the 2011 class was Richard Adams, Phil Berger, Luke Curtin and Joe Ernst; the Class of 2012 was Bill Coffey, Sheldon Gorski, John Marks, Dave Seitz and Bob Woods; the 2013 class was David Craievich, Marc Magliarditi, Steve Poapst and Darren Schwartz; the Class of 2014 was James Edwards, Wes Goldie, Al MacIsaac and John Spoltore; the Class of 2015 was Darren Colbourne, Louis Dumont, Scott Sabatino and Carl Scheer and the Class of 2016 was Daniel Berthiaume, Craig Brush and Allan Sirois. Inductees are enshrined in the ECHL Hall of Fame, which is open around the clock online at ECHLHallOfFame.com, 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 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 29th season in 2016-17.

Hall of Fame members are selected in four categories: Player, Developmental Player, Builder, and Referee/Linesman. 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.

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 21 states and one Canadian province for its 29th season in 2016-17. There have been 609 players who have started their career in the ECHL have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 10 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2016-17 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 NHL teams in 2016-17, marking the 20th consecutive season that the league had 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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