Around The ECHL: Kowalski Dealt To Phoenix

Craig Kowalski, who finished the 2007-08 season tied for the ECHL lead in wins with 29, has been traded by the Gwinnett Gladiators to the Phoenix Roadrunners in exchange for C Bryan Esner.

The starting goaltender for the American Conference in the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game, “K-Wal” played in 44 games last season and posted a very solid 2.33 GAA with a career-best 92.3 save percentage.

Esner split last season between South Carolina and Pensacola, tallying 24 goals and 30 assists.

According to the Gwinnett Daily Post, the move was made necessary when Kowalski unexpectedly arrived at the Gladiators camp following his release from the Norfolk Admirals camp.  Gwinnett already has Bruins farmhand Kevin Nastiuk and Charlie Effinger, a first-year pro out of Miami (OH) in camp.

Nastiuk (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

Also, the Idaho Statesman reports that the Idaho Steelheads have signed former NHL winger Steve Gainey to a contract.  Gainey, the son of Montreal Canadiens legend and GM Bob Gainey, most recently appeared in 20 games with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2005-06, and spent the 2007-08 season as an assistant coach with the WHL”s Kamloops Blazers.  He’s also played with the Dallas Stars, and has two assists in 33 total NHL contests.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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