Since the East Coast Hockey League began play in 1988-89, the league has established itself as a quality tier 3 league. The ECHL feeds the AHL, which in turn feeds the National Hockey League. As much as the ECHL is the proving grounds for the scorers, it is also the proving grounds for enforcers.
Like the rest of the hockey world, the ECHL was going through a bit of nastiness during the mid 1990’s. It was a regular occurrence during this time to see players with penalty totals over 400 during a regular season schedule. Three ‘bad boys’ crossed the 500 PIM line.
The ECHL’s single season individual record for most penalty minutes during the regular season, was established in 1995-96 and stands untouched today. Rob McCaig sat out 512 minutes, or just over eight and a half hours, in just 55 games with the Louisiana IceGators. This averages out to 9.3 minutes per game. To put this number into perspective, the NHL record was set in 1974-75 by Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz of the Philadelphia Flyers with 472 PIM in 76 games. Schultz’s record with the Broad Street Bullies, which still stands, only equates to 6.2 minutes per game.
Close behind McCaig in 1995-96 was Trevor Senn of the Richmond Renegades. Senn totaled 507 PIM in 57 games for an average of 8.9 minutes per game. The difference between Trevor and Rob was Senn’s ability around the net. He still found time out of the penalty box to score 18 goals and assist on 31 more. McCaig was good for just 14 points in 1995-96.
The following season, in 1996-97, Kevin Evans became the third and last ECHL player to accumulate over 500 penalty minutes in a single regular season. As a member of the Mississippi Sea Wolves, Kevin was the ECHL leader with 505 minutes over 63 games for a relatively mild 8.0 minutes per game average. Evans also had some ability around the net, scoring 19 and assisting on 27 for 46 points, all good for fourth on the Sea Wolves.
Kevin was certainly never a stranger to the penalty box. In junior, with the WHL’s Victoria Cougars, he sat 441 minutes in 66 games. The following season, as a rookie with the IHL’s Kalamazoo Wings, Evans sat an incredible 648 minutes in 73 games. Over 517 games in the IHL, Evans spent 3,084 minutes in the sin bin. In 101 games in the ECHL, he sat 739.