Thunder, Stockton Arena Host 2008 All-Star Game

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game would be hosted by the Stockton Thunder and the City of Stockton at Stockton Arena on Jan. 23, 2008.

It will be the 16th edition of the annual midseason game that showcases the top prospects in the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League. The 11th edition of the All-Star Skills Competition will be held on Jan. 22, 2008 at Stockton Arena.

Ticket information will be announced in the future and will be available at www.StocktonThunder.com .

“The Stockton Thunder organization has done an outstanding job introducing professional hockey and the ECHL to the city of Stockton and surrounding area. We are proud to announce in conjunction with the Thunder that the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition have been awarded to the city of Stockton and Stockton Arena,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “This is a fitting reward to the Thunder fans for their outstanding support since the team’s inception. We look forward to showcasing the best the ECHL has to offer in such an outstanding facility and in front of such enthusiastic fans.”

“It’s hard to believe that last year was the Stockton Thunder’s inaugural season, and the city of Stockton is already hosting the ECHL All-Star Game,” said Mayor of Stockton Ed Chavez. “We are excited to welcome hockey players and fans from around the country to the Stockton Arena. We hope it is just the beginning of many All-Star events in our future.”

“The Stockton Thunder organization is very proud to have been selected by the ECHL to host the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game,” said Stockton Thunder team president, Dan Chapman. “This is the annual showcase event for our league and we’re thrilled to host visitors from across the United States and Canada who will get to see first hand the beautiful Stockton Arena and our newly-developed waterfront and downtown.”

“With the exciting announcement of the City of Stockton and the Stockton Thunder hosting the 2008 ECHL All-Star Game, it is a dream becoming a reality,” said Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Doug Wilhoit. “This exciting ‘happening’ will show North America what we have here in Stockton and that the dreams and hard work of so many will be on display for all to see. Your Chamber invites fans from all over to converge on Stockton in January of 2008.”

Stockton leads the ECHL in attendance with 6,853 per game, an increase of almost 7.5 percent from 2005-06 when the Thunder led the league in their inaugural season. Stockton’s average is the largest since 2000-01 when Florida led the ECHL with 7,086 per game and Greenville was second with 7,015 per game.

Attended each year by representatives from both the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the All-Star Game has produced 38 players who have gone on to play in the NHL including 21 since 2002 when players who are not voted as starters are those players who coaches feel are prospects to move up to the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League.

The game has been televised each of the past six years on The NHL Network, NHL Center Ice and America One as well as being made available in ECHL markets and online. The audio broadcast is produced by NHL Radio and has been available live on XM Satellite Radio, the nation’s leading satellite radio service with more than six million subscribers as well as being online and available in ECHL markets.

ECHL All-Star Games
2007 – American 6, National 3 at Boise, Idaho
2006 – National 7, American 6 at Fresno, Calif.
2005 – National 6, American 2 at Reading, Pa.
2004 – Eastern 7, Western 6 at Peoria, Ill.
2003 – North 8, South 2 at Estero, Fla.
2002 – South 7, North 6 at Trenton, N.J.
2001 – South 9, North 5 at Little Rock, Ark.
2000 – North 8, South 6 at Greenville, S.C.
1999 – South 7, North 4 at Biloxi, Miss.
1998 – Canada 11, USA/World 7 at Lafayette, La.
1997 – Charlotte 7, ECHL 6 at Charlotte, N.C.
1996 – North 10, South 7 at Tallahassee, Fla.
1995 – West 6, East 5 at Greensboro, N.C.
1994 – West 7, East 6 at Norfolk, Va.
1993 – East 7, West 3 at Wheeling, W.Va.

About The ECHL

The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.

The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2005-06. There have been 322 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 who have made their NHL debut in 2005-06. The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2005-06 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion. The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance.