Radio Broadcasters Named For ECHL All-Star Classic

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced that the announcers for the audio broadcast of the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic presented by CCM and brought to you by Mercy & Memorial Hospitals will be Dustin Bixby of the Gwinnett Gladiators, Jeff Harris of the Victoria Salmon Kings and Bob Mills of the Bakersfield Condors.

 

Offered free of charge by the league to all ECHL teams the audio broadcast begins at 6:45 p.m. PT on Jan. 26 followed by the 19th Annual ECHL All-Star Classic at 7 p.m. PT.

 

The audio broadcast is produced by Doug Lane of NHL Radio and is scheduled to be aired live 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 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic presented by CCM and brought to you by Mercy & Memorial Hospitals will be hosted by the Bakersfield Condors at Rabobank Arena and played on Jan. 26, 2011.

 

Bixby is in his eighth season with the Gladiators and was a member of the radio broadcast crew for the 2004 ECHL All-Star Game in Peoria, Ill. A recipient of the ECHL’s American Conference Media Relations Director of the year award for the 2006-07 season, he has been in the broadcast booth for the Gladiators since the organization relocated to Gwinnett from Mobile, AL. He has also served as substitute studio host for the Atlanta Thrashers Radio Network handling the pregame, intermissions and post game show during the 2010-11 season.Prior to joining the Gladiators, Bixby was the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations Director with the Baton Rouge Kingfish during the 2002-03 season. He got his start in hockey during the organization’s final season in Mobile as the Mysticks director of Broadcasting and Media relations in 2001-02. A native of Crofton, Maryland, Dustin graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in Mass Communication in January of 2001.

 

Harris is in his fourth season as the Assistant General Manager, Director of Media and Community Relations and the broadcaster for the Salmon Kings. In his current role, Harris splits his time between the hockey operations department and the media and community relations department. The Calgary, Alberta native works closely with General Manager and Head Coach Mark Morrison on all facets of the hockey operations department after adding the assistant general manager’s duties prior to the 2008-09 season. Within the media and community relations department Harris is responsible for the strategic planning for the department and managing relationships with both media partners and community leaders. Prior to joining the Salmon Kings he spent a year with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League as the team’s Communication Coordinator. A graduate from Mount Royal College with an Applied Degree in Journalism, he has also spent time in both professional baseball with the Vancouver Canadians as well as in professional basketball with the Calgary 88’s.  

 

Mills is in his first season as Manager of Media Relations and Broadcasting with the Condors. He is responsible for assisting with radio and TV broadcasting and is also responsible for press releases and helping to maintain the team’s web site. Mills earned his degree in Telecommunications with a Radio Broadcast focus from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, in May 2009. Following graduation, he worked as Associate Broadcaster and Account Executive for the Gwinnett Gladiators in 2009-10. Prior to his time in Gwinnett, Mills served as the play-by-play voice for the Bowling Green State Falcons during the 2008-09 season.

 

There have been 53 players from the All-Star Game who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 37 since 2002 when the lineups began having players who coaches felt were prospects to move up to a higher level.

 

The fourth class will be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame on Jan. 26, 2011 during a luncheon ceremony presented by BFL Canada and the Bakersfield Convention & Visitors Bureau at the Marriott Bakersfield Hotel, the official host hotel of the 2011 ECHL All-Star Classic.

 

Tickets for the luncheon are $40 each or a table with seven tickets can be purchased for $250. Fans can purchase tickets by downloading the Luncheon Ticket Order Form or by calling the Condors Office at (661) 324-7825.


The ECHL All-Star Fan Fest presented by Bank of the Sierra, will be held at the Marriott Bakersfield Hotel on Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tickets for the Fan Fest can be purchased by calling the Condors at (661) 324-7825.

 

The past eight 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 three days in the host city.

The game has been available live on the NHL Network the last eight years as well as being broadcast on multiple regional networks. The audio broadcast has been carried on XM Satellite Radio as well as being available in all ECHL markets.

 

The Stanley Cup and the Patrick J. Kelly Cup will both be on display throughout the event, marking the 11th time in the last 12 years that the NHL championship trophy and the ECHL championship trophy have been displayed together at the All-Star Game.

 

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.

• ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 30 teams in the American Hockey League in 2010-11 and for the past 21 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 3,000 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.