ECHL All-Stars shine in Colorado

PRINCETON, N.J. – The third game to feature the host team playing the ECHL All-Stars and the induction of the sixth class into the ECHL Hall of Fame highlighted the 2013 ECHL All-Star Week presented by CCM.

The ECHL All-Stars defeated the Colorado Eagles 7-3 in the 20th ECHL All-Star Game presented by University of Colorado Health on Jan. 23 at a sold-out Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo. South Carolina Stingrays goaltender Ryan Zapolski captured Most Valuable Player honors after stopping all 17 shots he faced in the second period of the game, as the Eagles out-shot the ECHL All-Stars 52-27. Zapolski is just the fourth goaltender in ECHL All-Star Game history to win the Most Valuable Player award.

The MeiGray Group, which is the "Official Game-Worn Jersey Source of the ECHL," is auctioning the game-worn jerseys and Sher-Wood Hockey game-used pucks from both the skills competition and the game online at ECHL.com and MeiGray.com.

Showcasing some of the top prospects in the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the rosters had 16 rookies and 35 of the players were appearing in their first ECHL All-Star Game. Attended by representatives from both the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the game has produced more than 50 players who have gone on to play in the NHL including 39 since 2002 when the format was changed to feature younger players.

The sixth class of the
ECHL Hall of Fame – David Craievich, Marc Magliarditi, Steve Poapst and Darren Schwartz - was officially inducted during a luncheon presented by BFL Canada with more than 300 guests in attendance at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, the official host hotel of the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game, which was sold out during the event. The featured speaker at the ceremony was six-time Stanley Cup champion and Colorado Eagles founder Ralph Backstrom. Following a video highlighting their accomplishments, each of the inductees was presented an etched crystal award and a Hall of Fame ring.

The game was televised live in nearly 15 million homes on Altitude Sports & Entertainment in Colorado, Buckeye Cable Sports Network in Ohio, Comcast Sports Net – California, GCI in Alaska, New England Sports Network, NHL Network U.S. and Canada and Time Warner Cable Sportsnet in Ohio.

Fans across the globe were able to watch the game online at AmericaOne.com courtesy of America One, the “Official Broadband and Mobile Broadcaster of the ECHL.”

Fans had the opportunity to have their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup and the Patrick J. Kelly Cup which were both on display at all events. Additionally, Sutton Special Risk presented a special display from the Hockey Hall of Fame during the All-Star Skills Competition presented by OtterBox and
CCM. The display included artifacts from the Hockey Hall of Fame, interactive games and the Conn Smythe Trophy, Vezina Trophy and Norris Trophy.

The past 10 ECHL All-Star Games have generated more than $1 million each for the local economy as guests, players, coaches and fans occupy hundreds of hotel rooms and spend several days in the host city.

Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts 

• Watch games live on America One Sports, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.

• The ECHL celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2012-13 and is the third-longest tenured professional hockey league behind only the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

• ECHL began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and has grown to be a coast-to-coast league with 23 teams in 16 states in 2012-13.

• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

491 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 23 in 2011-12.

• Former Cincinnati Cyclones forward Cory Conacher was the first former ECHL player to make his NHL debut in 2012-13 with Tampa Bay on Jan. 19.

• The ECHL has had 299 players reach the NHL since 2002-03 when it changed its focus to become the primary developmental league for the NHL and the AHL. The ECHL had 97 players reach the NHL in its first 10 seasons and 215 in the first 15 years.

• 235 ECHL players have played their first game in the last eight seasons for an average of more than 29 per year.

• ECHL had a record 87 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2012-13, surpassing the 81 from 2011-12 and marking the 10th year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.

• ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 NHL teams in 2012-13, marking the 16th consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL.

• 30 coaches with an ECHL background are working behind the benches of teams in the NHL including Anaheim Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach and 2011 Jack Adams Award winner Dan Bylsma, New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and Winnipeg Jets head coach Claude Noel. It is the seventh consecutive season that there have been 11 or more coaches with an ECHL background working in the NHL. Boudreau, who coached Mississippi for three seasons winning the Kelly Cup championship in 1999, was named NHL Coach of the Year in 2007-08 becoming the first former ECHL coach to receive the award.

• 26 former ECHL officials are scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2012-13 with referees Darcy Burchell, Francis Charron, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Mike Leggo, Dave Lewis, T.J. Luxmore, Wes McCauley, Jon McIsaac, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Graham Skilliter, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.

• ECHL was represented for the 12th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion in 2012 with Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon, players Dwight King, Jordan Nolan and Jonathan Quick, manager of communications/broadcasting Jeremy Zager and scouts Steve Greeley, Mark Mullen and Mark Yannetti. Quick was named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the second consecutive year a former ECHL player won the award.. There were 43 former players and 13 coaches on the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the seventh year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the ninth consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.

• ECHL was represented in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game by Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers, Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.  

• Former ECHL broadcasters working in the NHL include John Ahlers and Steve Carroll of the Anaheim Ducks, Tom Callahan of the Nashville Predators, Dave Goucher of the Boston Bruins, Chris Kerber of the St. Louis Blues, Jack Michaels of the Edmonton Oilers, Dave Mishkin of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Bob McElligott of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

• Ryan Stanzel and Jeremy Zager, who were both recipients of the ECHL Media Relations Director of the Year award, are working in the communications department for the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Former ECHL assistant director of communications Joe Siville works in the communications department for the Philadelphia Flyers.

• ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2012-13 and for the past 23 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.

• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,500 call-ups involving more than 1,800 players and in 2011-12 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.

• The ECHL averaged 4,281 fans per game in 2011-12, marking the eighth consecutive season and the 20th time in the last 22 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans.

• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

All-Star Week Events

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2015 ECHL All-Star FanFest  - Tuesday, Jan. 20

Hall of Fame Luncheon Hall of Fame Luncheon

Tickets are now on sale for Orlando Solar Bears' sponsors and season-ticket members. Please call (407) 951-8200.

All-Star Classic All-Star Classic

2015 ECHL All-Star Game & Skills Competition - Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015