The ECHL on Tuesday announced that Tyler Puddifant and Stephen Thomson have been selected as the referees and Jake Davis and Jordan Knox have been chosen to be the linesmen 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.
“Being selected to work any All-Star Game is a great honor for any official and these four have earned the honor of working this year’s ECHL showcase event,” said ECHL Manager of Officiating Mike Pearce. “They are very excited to work in Indy for what will be a very exciting and competitive All-Star event.”
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.
In his fifth season as an ECHL referee, Puddifant has earned assignments in the Kelly Cup Playoffs Conference Finals each of the previous two seasons. During the 2015-16 season, he was selected to work the ECHL Hockey Heritage Classic in Kalamazoo. Prior to joining the ECHL, he worked in the United States Hockey League and the Southern Professional Hockey League.
Thomson, who is in his third season in the ECHL, was selected as one of the referees for the 2017 Kelly Cup Finals. Prior to joining the ECHL, he worked games in the United States Hockey League, where he earned assignments in the Clark Cup Finals in 2013 and 2014, and in the Southern Professional Hockey League, where he worked the President’s Cup Finals in 2015. Thomson also has international officiating experience, serving as a referee for the Bronze Medal Game in the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and at the 2018 World Junior Championships in Buffalo. He is also a referee in the American Hockey League.
This is Davis’ third season in the ECHL. He also has worked games in the North American Hockey League, United States Hockey League and Hockey East while also serving as a linesman in the American Hockey League. Davis also has international experience, working the World Under-18 Championship in 2016 and the World Junior Championships in 2017.
Knox is in his fourth season as an ECHL linesman. He began his officiating career 10 years ago with USA Hockey, and continues to officiate for the organization today. Knox is the vice president and director of officials for the Indianapolis Hockey Officials Association after previously serving as president and seminar coordinator for the association.
Current NHL officials who have worked the ECHL All-Star Game are referees Ian Walsh (1997), Brian Pochmara (2001), Justin St. Pierre (2002) and Tom Chmielewski (2011) and linesman Brian Mach (1999) while former NHL referee Jeff Smith worked the 1998 game.
There are 31 former ECHL officials scheduled to work as part of the NHL officiating team in 2017-18 with referees Jake Brenk, Francis Charron, Tom Chmielewski, Ghislain Hebert, Jean Hebert, Marc Joannette, Trent Knorr, Pierre Lambert, T.J. Luxmore, Peter MacDougall, 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, Ryan Daisy, Brandon Gawryletz, Matt MacPherson, Brian Mach, Bevin Mills, Kory Nagy, Tim Nowak, Bryan Pancich and Jay Sharrers.
Forty-one of the 63 referees working in the American Hockey League, including three of the eight referees contracted to the NHL, came from the ECHL. Ninety-six of the 179 linesmen in the AHL have worked games in the ECHL.
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 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.