class of 2017

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.

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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.

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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.

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