Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Dieter Kochan
Netminder Dieter Kochan made NHL history on March 28, 2000, when he became the first player to jump directly from the Untied Hockey League to the National Hockey League when he came into to replace Tampa Bay Lightning starting goaltender Daniel Cloutier in game versus the Dallas Stars.

Kochan's unusual road to the NHL began in 1993 when he was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks before starting his four year run at Northern Michigan University. After four difficult seasons with the struggling collegiate squad, Kochan turned pro in 1997 and joined the East Coast Hockey League's Louisville Riverfrogs. The following year he joined the United Hockey League's B.C. Icemen where he served as the teams starting goaltender and posted very respectable numbers, which included a goal scored on January 5. The next year he had short stints in the American and International Leagues, but again spent his year primarily guarding the Icemen's net with 43 appearances for them. While toiling in the lower rungs of the minor leagues, the NHL must have been far from his mind when Tampa Bay contacted him and inked him to a free agent deal on March 27, 2000. The next night he made his NHL debut.

That season he made five appearances for the Lightning and spent the next season in Detroit of the IHL. Though he struggled for the Detroit Vipers, he made 10 appearances back in Tampa. When the Lightning acquired star goaltender Nikolia Khabibulin late that year, it seemed Kochan would be buried again in the minors.

Kochan spent the 2001-02 season in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons while the Tampa goaltending duties were handled by Khabibulin and Kevin Weekes. Kochan played solid hockey in Springfield while posting a winning record and a 2.67 goals against average. Late in the season the Lightning decided to trade their solid back up Kevin Weekes to Carolina for some depth up front and Kochan was summoned to finish the campaign as Khabibulin's back up. In five appearances Kochan was unable to record a victory.
His return to the NHL was not the only high-point of his 2001-02 campaign, however. That spring, when the Lightning failed to qualify for the playoffs, Kochan was added to the U.S. squad for the 2002 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships in Sweden. He backstopped his club to a victory versus the Italians and played well in a 2-1 loss to Team Canada and also was on the wrong end of a 5-4 decision against the Czechs.
Kochan has also managed to assemble a very impressive hockey resume away from the ice as one of the top goaltenders in roller hockey. He's accumulated numerous medals in international play for Team USA and was voted the top roller hockey player in the USA in 1997.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1990-91 Edgewood Crusaders High-WI
1991-92 Sioux City Musketeers USHL 23 7 10 0 0 5.31
1992-93 Kelowna Spartans BCJHL 44 34 8 0 1 3.18 15 12 3 0 1 3.10
1993-94 Northern Michigan U. WCHA 20 9 7 0 2 3.47
1994-95 Northern Michigan U. WCHA 29 8 17 3 0 4.25
1995-96 Northern Michigan U. WCHA 31 7 21 2 0 4.54
1996-97 Northern Michigan U. WCHA 26 8 15 2 0 3.89
1997-98 Louisville RiverFrogs ECHL 18 7 9 2 1 3.73
1998-99 Binghamton Icemen UHL 40 18 16 5 2 2.97 4 1 2 0 2.59
1999-00 Binghamton Icemen UHL 43 29 11 3 4 2.59
1999-00 Orlando Solar Bears IHL 4 4 0 0 1 1.00
1999-00 Springfield Falcons AHL 2 1 1 0 1 2.50
1999-00 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 5 1 4 0 0 4.29
1999-00 Grand Rapids Griffins IHL 2 1 0 1 0 0.64
2000-01 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 10 0 3 0 0 3.44
2000-01 Detroit Vipers IHL 49 13 28 3 0 3.55
2001-02 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 5 0 3 1 0 4.05
2001-02 Springfield Falcons AHL 45 21 20 1 2 2.67
2001-02 United States WC-A 3 0 2.01
2002-03 Minnesota Wild NHL 1 0 1 0 0 5.00
2002-03 Houston Aeros AHL 25 15 6 3 1 2.53 2 0 0 0 0.00
2003-04 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 45 20 17 7 6 1.87 4 1 3 0 2.57
2004-05 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 39 19 19 0 1 2.66
2005-06 Sibir Novosibirsk Russia 8 0 3.31
2005-06 Portland Pirates AHL 15 9 4 1 1 2.72
2006-07 Houston Aeros AHL 23 6 14 1 1 3.28
NHL Totals 21 1 11 1 0 3.95


UHL Second All-Star Team (2000) Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award (fewest goals against - AHL) (2004) (shared with Wade Dubielewicz) Scored a goal vs. Winston-Salem (UHL), January 5, 1999. Signed as a free agent by Tampa Bay, March 27, 2000. Signed as a free agent by Minnesota, August 5, 2002. Signed as a free agent by NY Islanders, August 7, 2003. Signed as a free agent by Chicago (AHL), October 4, 2006. Signed as a free agent by Houston (AHL), October 17, 2006. Officially announced retirement, May 17, 2007.
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