PRINCETON, N.J. – The second game to feature the host team playing the ECHL All-Stars and the induction of the fourth class into the ECHL Hall of Fame highlighted the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic presented by CCM and brought to you by Mercy & Memorial Hospitals.
The ECHL All-Stars defeated the Bakersfield Condors 9-3 in the 19th Annual ECHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 26 at Rabobank Arena. Stockton Thunder rookie forward Mark Arcobello captured Most Valuable Player honors with a three-goal performance, becoming just the eighth player in All-Star Classic history to score at least three goals in one game.
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 Auction.NHL.com.
Showcasing some of the top prospects in the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the rosters had 19 rookies and 38 of the players were appearing in their first ECHL All-Star Classic. Attended by representatives from both the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the game has produced 54 players who have gone on to play in the NHL including 36 since 2002 when the format was changed to feature younger players.
The fourth class of the ECHL Hall of Fame – Richard Adams, Phil Berger, Luke Curtin and Joe Ernst – were officially inducted during a luncheon presented by BFL Canada and the Bakersfield Convention & Visitors Bureau with more than 300 guests in attendance at the Marriott Bakersfield Hotel, the official host hotel of the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic which was sold out during the event. The featured speaker at the ceremony was three-time National Hockey League All-Star, and current Toronto Maple Leafs Vice President of Hockey Operations Dave Poulin. Following a video highlighting their accomplishments, each of the inductees was presented an etched crystal award and a Hall of Fame ring.
Photos taken by official photographer Lee Calkins are available for viewing and purchase at http://iephotosocal.zenfolio.com/.
The game was televised live in more than 112 million homes on Altitude Sports & Entertainment in Colorado, America One/One World Sports/B2TV, Bright House Network in Bakersfield, Bright House Sports Network in Florida, Buckeye Cable Sports Network in Ohio, Comcast Sports Net – California, Fox College Sports-Atlantic, GCI in Alaska and My Utah TV, New England Sports Network and NHL Network U.S. and Canada. Kevin Bartl of the Bakersfield Condors was the play-by-play announcer with veteran NHL analyst Neil Smith doing color commentary for the tenth year in a row and Adrian Denny of the Utah Grizzlies working at ice level interviewing players, coaches and representatives from the ECHL and the National Hockey League.
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.”
Produced by Doug Lane of NHL Radio the audio broadcast was available on XM Satellite Radio, marking the sixth consecutive year that the nation’s leading satellite radio service has carried the game, as well as on 970 AM Fox Sports Radio in Bakersfield, Calif., 1350 KTIK The Ticket in Boise, Idaho, KJQS-AM 1230 in Salt Lake City and Fox Sports Radio 1230-WCWA in Toledo, Ohio. The audio broadcast featured Dustin Bixby of the Gwinnett Gladiators, Jeff Harris of the Victoria Salmon Kings and Bob Mills of the Bakersfield Condors.
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 including the All-Star Fan Fest at the Marriott Bakersfield Hotel.
The past nine ECHL All-Star Classics have generated more than $1 million each for the local economy as guests, players, coaches and fans occupy hundreds of hotel rooms and spend two days in the host city.
Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League Fast Facts
• Watch games live on America One, the “Official Broadband & Mobile Broadcaster” of the ECHL.
• The ECHL celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2007-08 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 19 teams in 14 states and British Columbia in 2010-11.
• The league officially changed its name from East Coast Hockey League to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
• 459 players have played in the NHL after playing in the ECHL including 35 in 2009-10.
• 16 ECHL players have made their NHL debut this season: former Idaho Steelheads goaltender and 2010 ECHL All-Star Richard Bachman (Dallas on Dec. 11), former Las Vegas Wranglers right wing Adam Cracknell (St. Louis on Dec. 15), former Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender Mark Dekanich (Nashville on Dec. 18), former South Carolina Stingrays left wing Stefan Della Rovere (St. Louis on Dec. 1), former Phoenix RoadRunners center Andrew Desjardins (San Jose on Jan. 3), former Cincinnati Cyclones goaltender and 2007 ECHL All-Star Cedrick Desjardins (Cincinnati on Dec. 30), former Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies and Idaho Steelheads defenseman Brian Fahey (Washington on Oct. 16), former South Carolina Stingrays goaltender and 2010 ECHL All-Star Braden Holtby (Washington on Nov. 7), former Texas Wildcatters left wing Matt Kassian (Minnesota on Nov. 5), former Ontario Reign center Dwight King (Los Angeles on Nov. 17), former Phoenix RoadRunners and Utah Grizzlies goaltender Nathan Lawson (New York Islanders on Dec. 18), former Trenton Titans defenseman Olivier Magnan (New Jersey on Oct. 22), former Trenton Devils center Brad Mills (New Jersey on Oct. 30), former Johnstown Chiefs and Cincinnati Cyclones forward Chris Mueller (Nashville on Dec. 28), former Alaska Aces right wing Ryan Reaves (St. Louis on Oct. 11) and former Reading Royals and South Carolina Stingrays goaltender and 2009 Kelly Cup Playoffs Most Valuable Player James Reimer (Tortonto on Dec. 20).
• 6 players played in the ECHL and the NHL in 2009-10: Kyle Calder with Bakersfield and Anaheim, Jeremy Duchesne with Kalamazoo and Philadelphia, Tomas Kana with Alaska and Columbus, Dan Sexton with Bakersfield and Anaheim, MacGregor Sharp with Bakersfield and Anaheim and Matt Zaba with Charlotte and the New York Rangers.
• The ECHL has had 267 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.
• 203 ECHL players have played their first game in the last six seasons for an average of more than 33 per year.
• ECHL had a record 79 players on NHL opening-day rosters in 2010-11, surpassing the 78 from 2009-10 and marking the eighth year in a row that there have been over 50 former ECHL players on opening-day rosters.
• Every ECHL team has an affiliation with an NHL team in 2010-11 and the league has affiliations with 27 of the 30 NHL teams, marking the 14th 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 Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau, New York Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano, Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette and St. Louis Blues head coach Davis Payne. It is the sixth 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.
• 21 former ECHL officials are working as part of the NHL officiating team in 2010-11 with referees David Banfield, Francis Charron, Chris Ciamaga, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Mike Leggo, Wes McCauley, Dean Morton, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Pochmara, Kevin Pollock, Kyle Rehman, Chris Rooney, Justin St. Pierre and Ian Walsh, and linesmen Steve Barton, Brian Mach, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers..
• ECHL was represented for the 10th year in a row on the Stanley Cup champion with Chicago Blackhawks assistant coaches Mike Haviland and John Torchetti, developmental goaltending coach Wade Flaherty, senior director of hockey administration Al MacIsaac, general manager of minor league affiliations Mark Bernard and scout Ryan Stewart. There were 35 former players and 14 former coaches on 15 of the 16 teams competing in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, marking the fifth year in a row that there have been at least 30 former ECHL players and the seventh consecutive season that over 25 players with ECHL experience have competed in the NHL postseason.
• 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 and John Michael 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 and Kelly Murray are now with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals, respectively, while former ECHL director of communications Jason Rothwell is the creative director for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
• In the last seven seasons the ECHL has had more call-ups to the AHL than all other professional leagues combined with over 3,000 call-ups involving more than 1,500 players and in 2009-10 there were 10 times as many call-ups from the ECHL to the AHL than all other professional leagues.
• The ECHL averaged 4,486 fans per game in 2009-10, the highest single-season average since 1999-00, and is the only minor professional hockey league to increase average attendance each of the last three seasons. It is the sixth consecutive season and the 18th time in the last 20 years that the ECHL has averaged over 4,000 fans and the league drew over 3 million fans for the 17th year in a row.
• Further information on the ECHL is available from its website at ECHL.com.