ECHL Hall of Fame

Saturday, November 20, 2010

PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL on Friday announced that the 2011 inductees for the ECHL Hall of Fame are Richard Adams, Phil Berger, Luke Curtin and Joe Ernst.

The four will be formally inducted as the fourth class of the ECHL Hall of Fame at a luncheon ceremony, presented by BFL Canada, that will be held in conjunction with the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 26, 2011 at the Bakersfield Marriott Hotel, the official host hotel of the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic.

“This is a special and diverse group of inductees. It includes four individuals who made special contributions to the ECHL, but in very different ways,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “Rick Adams succeeded Pat Kelly as President/CEO of the ECHL and led the League through a period of unprecedented growth. Joe Ernst has dedicated his entire professional life to the ECHL and only Pat Kelly and Nick Vitucci have had a longer association with the League.

“Phil Berger was one of the very first stars of the ECHL and put up impressive numbers in both the regular season and playoffs,” he added. “More recently, Luke Curtin provided fans with a level of skill and consistency which few have matched. This is a very worthy group of inductees.”

Joe Ernst, who is the first inductee in the Referee/Linesman category, is celebrating his 20th season in the ECHL in 2010-11. Ernst spent 16 seasons as a referee with the ECHL beginning in 1991-92, and after retiring was named Assistant Director of Officiating. This season is his second as the Director of Officiating. Ernst officiated 1,061 regular-season games and over 200 postseason games, and is the only referee in ECHL history to have worked over 1,000 games. He was a member of the NHL Trainee Program for seven seasons and worked preseason games in the National Hockey League, as well as games in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League. Ernst was selected to work the 1999 ECHL All-Star Game and worked nine ECHL Finals series [1993-1995 Riley Cup Finals and 2002-2007 Kelly Cup Finals].

Richard Adams joined the ECHL as Vice President of Business Operations prior to the 1994-95 season. The following season, he was named President/CEO, a position he held through the 2001-02 season. Under his leadership, the League executed its first Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Professional Hockey Players’ Association, launched ECHL Properties, unveiled a new logo and launched the official League website, ECHL.com. The League grew from 21 members in 1995-96 to 29 in 2001-02, and moved into 17 markets that had never before had professional hockey. Adams was one of the driving forces behind the addition of six former West Coast Hockey League markets during the summer of 2002.

Phil Berger began playing in the ECHL as a rookie in 1989-90 with Greensboro and played nine seasons in the league with Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh and Hampton Roads. He ranks seventh in ECHL history with 599 points and is 11th in both goals [251] and assists [348]. His 0.69 goals per game, 0.95 assists per game and 1.64 points per game averages are all fourth-best in league history. Berger led the ECHL in scoring with 130 points [60g-70a] in 1991-92 and with 139 points [56g-83a] in 1993-94. He was named to the All-ECHL Second Team and the ECHL Most Valuable Player in 1991-92 and was named to the All-ECHL First Team in 1993-94. Berger is the ECHL’s all-time leader in postseason scoring with 117 points, is tied for first with 50 postseason goals and is second with 67 postseason assists. He was a member of two Riley Cup championship teams – Greensboro in 1990 and Charlotte in 1996. Berger played in the first two ECHL All-Star Games in 1993 and 1994 and scored three points [2g-1a].

Luke Curtin made his ECHL debut in 1998-99, and went on to play in 501 games over nine seasons with Baton Rouge, Atlantic City and Fresno. He is fifth in ECHL history with 384 assists and 11th with 577 points. Curtin is second all-time with five ECHL All-Star Game appearances [1999, 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2007] and he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game with two goals. He was a member of Atlantic City’s 2003 Kelly Cup championship team and finished tied for second during the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 20 points [2g-18a]. Curtin is fourth in ECHL postseason history with 58 assists and is tied for fifth with 75 postseason points. He was an All-ECHL First Team selection in 2003-04 and 2005-06 and was named to the ECHL All-Decade Team for 2000-2010 in a vote of fans on ECHL.com.

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. 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 19 teams in 14 states and British Columbia in 2010-11.

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 NHLOA would like to congratulate all the inductees and more particularly Joe Ernst, an Alumni of our Association and a friend to many of of our Members.

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National Hockey League Officials Association