PEORIA — The Peoria Rivermen again have ties to a team playing in the Stanley Cup Final as the NHL playoffs conclude with the championship round, which begins June 3.
A senior advisor and an athletic trainer for the Eastern Conference champions Florida Panthers once were part of Peoria’s hockey franchise.
Rivermen Hall of Fame winger Paul Fenton — a member of the 41-year-old franchise’s inaugural team in the 1982-83 International Hockey League season — is a senior advisor to Panthers general manager Bill Zito. Florida’s assistant athletic trainer Brian Riedel became Rivermen trainer in the 2017-18 SPHL season, his first pro hockey job.
More: Rivermen trainer Brian Riedel keeps SPHL’s top team patched up, ready to play
More Peoria Rivermen ties
In the Western Conference finals, Vegas Golden Knights lead the Dallas Stars 3-1. If Vegas wraps up that series and heads to the Stanley Cup Final, it will add another former Rivermen to the series.
The Vegas roster includes former St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who played one game for the Rivermen in the AHL during the 2008-09 season.
If Dallas manages a comeback, there are Rivermen ties with that team as well: Stars defenseman Jani Hakanpaa played 14 games for the AHL Rivermen in 2012-13.
Last season, former AHL Rivermen head coach Jared Bednar, now coach at Colorado, led the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup, the first former Peoria coach to do so. Two more former Rivermen players were part of that Stanley Cup win, including Erik Johnson (player) and Dan Laperriere (Colorado scout).
Peoria Rivermen on the Stanley Cup
Here’s a list of former Peoria Rivermen players whose names are on the Stanley Cup:
Defenseman Erik Johnson (Colorado 2022), Winger Jaden Schwartz (Blues 2019), defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (Blues 2019), goaltender Jordan Binnington (Blues 2019), goaltender Jake Allen (Blues 2019); defenseman Ian Cole (in Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017), center Lars Eller (in Washington in 2018), enforcer Todd Ewen (in Montreal in 1993) and defenseman Bret Hedican (in Carolina in 2006); center Tony Hrkac (in Dallas in 1999), defenseman Lyle Odelein (in Montreal in 1993), defenseman Gordie Roberts (in Pittsburgh in 1991 and 1992), winger Warren Rychel (in Colorado in 1996), center Mike Zigomanis (in Pittsburgh in 2009) and goaltender Manny Legace (Detroit in 2002).
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers Bradley men’s basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. He can be reached at 686-3206 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.
This article originally appeared on Journal Star: How the Peoria Rivermen will have ties to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final