The ECHL announced its 13th class for its Hall of Fame Monday, and one of the inductees is a St. John’s native, while another is someone who once played for the first pro hockey team in St. John’s.
Derek Clancey, 50, is the Newfoundlander. While he is known these days for his work in hockey operations with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins and as a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Pens, Clancey had a stellar playing and coaching career in the ECHL.
After finishing his university career at UPEI, where he was the Atlantic conference MVP, Clancey turned pro with the ECHL’s Erie Panthers in 1991-92. He also played for the Toledo Storm and Winston-Salem Thunderbirds that first season, but after a brief stint with a team in the Netherlands in 1992-93, he returned to the ECHL, playing six more seasons in the league, four with the Columbus Chill and two with the Chesapeake IceBreakers.
In 391 ECHL games, he totalled 524 points (157 G, 367A). He is tied for seventh in league history in assists while ranking 23rd in all-time points. He is tied for the most assists in a single game in ECHL history, recording seven helpers for Columbus on Jan. 13, 1996 against Johnstown.
That season, he had 109 points for the Chill. He also topped the century mark in 1997-98, when he had 105 points for Chesapeake.
After completing his playing career in 1999, Clancey turned to coaching and went on to compile a 180-136-42 record in six ECHL seasons with Jackson and Reading, advancing to the Kelly Cup playoffs each season.
He is now in his 13th season with the Penguins, and earlier this year was promoted to the club’s director of player personnel.
Former St. John’s Maple Leafs defenceman Jared Bednar is another inductee who both played and coached in the ECHL before moving to the NHL.
Bednar, now the head coach of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, had a 15-year association with the ECHL as a player and coach. He was the first person to win three Kelly Cup titles, capturing titles as a player with South Carolina in 1997 and 2001, and one as the Stingrays’ head coach in 2009. He later coached the Lake Erie Monsters to a Calder Cup title in 2016.
Bednar suited up in 434 career ECHL games with Huntington and South Carolina. He also got into 74 AHL games, 55 of them with St. John’s in 1996-97.
Clancey will become the second Newfoundlander in the ECHL Hall of Fame. Corner Brook native Darren Colbourne, who had 569 points in 421 ECHL games, was inducted in 2015Two other former ECHL players, Dany Bousquet and Glen Metropolit, will be inducted along with Clancey and Bednar during a Jan. 21 ceremony in Wichita, Kan.