Kalamazoo named host city for 2016 CCM/ECHL Hockey Heritage Week

The ECHL announced on Thursday that the Kalamazoo Wings have been named the hosts of the 2016 CCM/ECHL Hockey Heritage Week presented by PNC Bank and Bronson Hospital. The event is set to take place Feb. 1-6, 2016 at Wings Event Center and throughout the city of Kalamazoo.

“Hockey Heritage Week is the showcase event for the ECHL during the upcoming season,” ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna said. “We are proud to bring the event and all the surrounding festivities to Kalamazoo and western Michigan. Given the hockey history and tradition that exists in the community, the location is a perfect match.”

With 42 years of professional hockey history, recent investments in the facilities and community and a clear vision moving forward, the theme for the 2016 CCM/ECHL Hockey Heritage Week presented by PNC Bank and Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo will be Past, Present & Future.

“We’ve been a staple of the community for nearly a half-century,” K-Wings Director of Sales Toni Daniels said. “Moving forward, there’s certainly no signs of slowing down. The best is yet to come and we are honored to play host to this amazing event.”

Friday, Feb. 5 will be represented by the Past and Present, with highlights of the day featuring exhibits from the Hockey Hall of Fame, alumni reunions, welcoming the ECHL Board of Governors, the 2016 ECHL Hall of Fame Luncheon and special throwback jerseys for the K-Wings game against Toledo at 7 p.m.

As the theme transitions to the Future for Saturday, Feb. 6, part of the day will showcase the stars of tomorrow as the K-Wings will team up with the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association for a youth hockey showcase in the morning and early afternoon. KOHA has spent 50 years as the premier youth hockey organization in southwest Michigan, and has been recognized as a USA Hockey Model Association.

“The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association is excited to be a part of Hockey Heritage Week,” KOHA operations director Frank Noonan said. “Having just celebrated our association’s 50th Anniversary, allowing KOHA players and families the opportunity to take part in a weekend so rich with hockey tradition is truly an honor.”

The youth hockey showcase will give way to the second game of the weekend series between the K-Wings and Walleye, with both teams debuting special “futuristic” CCM jerseys, created exclusively for Hockey Heritage Week.

Other highlights of CCM/ECHL Hockey Heritage Week presented by PNC Bank and Bronson Hospital:

• Stanley Cup and Kelly Cup tour of Kalamazoo and the surrounding area
• Representatives from all 28 ECHL teams in attendance
• NHL trophies, exhibits and games from the Hockey Hall of Fame
• Special fan interactions with players, coaches and alumni
• Hockey Heritage merchandise available for purchase
• Exclusive ticket packages

About the ECHL

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 28 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 28th season in 2015-16. There have been 569 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 28 who made their NHL debuts in the 2014-15 season. The ECHL had affiliations with 29 of the 30 NHL teams in 2014-15, marking the 18th 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 Facebook and Twitter.