ROANOKE, Va. – ECHL officials announced on Thursday that Rail Yard Dawgs head coach Sam Ftorek is among the 2018 inductees to the ECHL Hall of Fame.
Ftorek spent 14 seasons of his 17-year professional playing career in the ECHL, culminating in setting the league’s all-time games played record in his final season of 2014-15. He broke the previous mark of 789, held by fellow ECHL Hall-of-Famer Cam Brown, and ended his career with 837 career ECHL games. Ftorek was named to the All-ECHL First Team and was runner-up for the league’s Defenseman of the Year award in 2013-14, when he posted 47 points (13G, 34A) in 70 games for the Kalamazoo Wings. He spent time as both a forward and a defenseman and ranks 10th in ECHL history, with 360 career assists, 17th in points, with 548 points, and 29th in goals, with 188 career goals.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Ftorek said. “It’s something I never strived for. I never went into a game or a practice thinking of the entirety of my career. It was always a day-to-day thing. But to be included with the guys who are in there -- guys like Daniel Berthiaume, who’s basically a native Roanoker, played for the Express and still lives at Smith Mountain Lake -- is just incredible.”
Following his retirement as a player, Ftorek served as an assistant with Kalamazoo during the 2015-16 season. He was hired as coach of the Rail Yard Dawgs in April of 2016 and is currently in his second season at the helm. Joining him as 2018 inductees to the ECHL Hall of Fame are Steve Chapman and Jason Saal. The three will be formally inducted at a banquet ceremony during the ECHL’s All-Star weekend on Monday, Jan. 15 in Indianapolis.
Ftorek’s Rail Yard Dawgs return to action on Friday night in Fayetteville against the Marksmen. Puck drop at the Crown Coliseum is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Dawgs then return to Berglund Center ice on Saturday for the second annual Weiner Dawg Race game. Saturday’s puck drop against Fayetteville is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.