The ECHL on Monday announced that Matt Aiello of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits has been named the athletic trainer and Chris Burke of the Cincinnati Cyclones has been named the equipment manager for the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, to be hosted by the Indy Fuel on Monday, Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. ET at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The game will air LIVE exclusively on NHL Network.
Aiello and Burke will be joined by George Bullock, Jr. (athletic trainer) and Darren Flinchem (equipment manager) of the host Indy Fuel.
For the first time in ECHL history, the All-Star Classic will feature not two, but four teams, representing each of the League’s divisions. In a format similar to those adapted by the NHL and AHL All-Star Games, the four teams will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament in order to crown a winner. The two semifinal matches will be played within the Eastern and Western Conferences; with the North Division taking on the South Division and the Central Division facing the Mountain Division. The 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place after the second semifinal game, with the championship round following immediately at the conclusion of the Skills Competition.
Aiello is in his second season as the Swamp Rabbits’ athletic trainer. The Cary, Illinois native has over seven years of experience in the field since earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training from Illinois State University. Aiello began his career in the Central Hockey League with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder. Over the next five seasons, he held the athletic trainer position for the CHL’s Bloomington Blaze, Southern Professional Hockey League’s Bloomington Thunder and United States Hockey League’s Bloomington Thunder.
A native of Cincinnati, Burke began his career with the Cyclones, working with the team for four seasons, including one as the head equipment manager. During the 2004-05 season, he was equipment manager for the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies before joining the Fresno Falcons in 2005-06 when he was named ECHL Equipment Manager of the Year. He returned to the Cyclones in 2006-07, and has been with the team for the last 12 seasons and is working the ECHL All-Star Classic for the second time in his career.
A 21-year veteran of professional hockey, Bullock is in his fourth season as the Fuel’s athletic trainer. A native of Lebanon, N.Y., Bullock most recently worked for the Ohio State University Athletic Department as an Intern Athletic Trainer, responsible for the Women’s Ice Hockey Program. Bullock has worked over 1,200 professional hockey games in his career, including stints in the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder, Bakersfield Condors, Greensboro Generals and Louisville RiverFrogs, and in the Central Hockey League with the Wichita Thunder and Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
A long-time mainstay in the Indianapolis hockey scene, Flinchem’s involvement with hockey in the Circle City dates back to 1995 when he served as the equipment manager for the International Hockey League’s Indianapolis Ice. Other previous stops for Flinchem include the ECHL’s Jacksonville Lizard Kings and the United States Hockey League’s Indiana Ice. During his time with the Ice, Flinchem was also called upon to represent the the United States at the World Junior “A” Challenge, winning five gold medals with the USA Hockey Select squad.
The 11th class will be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame on Monday, Jan. 15 during a formal dinner, presented by BFL CANADA and Sutton Special Risk, featuring Induction Ceremonies, players from the ECHL All-Star Teams, and several of the NHL and ECHL’s most prestigious trophies.
The 2018 ECHL All-Star Fan Fest, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers, will kick off the All-Star festivities Sunday, Jan. 14 from 2-8 p.m. at The Pavilion at Pan Am. Fans in attendance can enjoy a wide array of entertainment options throughout the day in anticipation for the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic. The Hockey Hall of Fame will be on hand with a variety of interactive activities and exhibits, including displays of ECHL and NHL trophies and memorabilia. Fans can enjoy a live performance from Indianapolis’ own Hunter Smith Band, while having the chance to get autographs from Indy Fuel players, ECHL All-Stars and league mascots.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 30th season in 2017-18. There have been 636 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 13 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 31 NHL teams in 2017-18, marking the 21st consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com as well as on Twitter and Facebook.