Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino Named Title Sponsor for 2004 ECHL All-Star Game, Skills Competition

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Peoria Rivermen and the ECHL on Friday announced that the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino will be the title sponsor for the 2004 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition.

Located in East Peoria, Ill., the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino ( www.par-a-dice.com) will also serve as the host hotel for the 2004 Par-A-Dice ECHL All-Star Game.

“We are extremely pleased to be the title sponsor and host hotel for the ECHL’s showcase event,” Par-A-Dice Vice President/General Manager Chris Gibase said. “This event will bring national exposure to Central Illinois and to Boyd Gaming. We are excited about providing a top notch experience for the players and fans of the ECHL.”

The 12th Annual ECHL All-Star Game will be played at the 9,919-seat Carver Arena at Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Ill. The skills competition will be held Tuesday, January 20 and the game will be played on Wednesday, January 21.

The official logo for the 2004 Par-A-Dice ECHL All-Star Game was released on Friday.

The 2004 Par-A-Dice ECHL All-Star Game logo is red, blue and gold, the official team colors of the host Peoria Rivermen. The logo has a ship’s paddle wheel with the words “Par-A-Dice ECHL All-Star Game Peoria 2004”.

“With the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino stepping forward as our title sponsor of the 2004 ECHL All-Star Game, they have reinforced their commitment to our community and its growth,” said Peoria President/Chief Operating Officer John Butler. “Their support, from both a marketing and a facility standpoint, will bring all the elements of this first class event together into one complete package. Hosting the ECHL All-Star Game is a prestigious honor, and the Rivermen organization and the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino look forward to putting on a first class event for our loyal fans, corporate partners, the entire Central Illinois community and our League”

The Peoria Rivermen ( www.rivermen.net) are affiliated with the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League and the Worcester IceCats of the American Hockey League. Peoria won the Kelly Cup Championship in 2000, and the Rivermen have qualified for the postseason in all seven seasons of their tenure in the ECHL.

Began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states, the ECHL will play its 16th season in 2003-04 with 32 teams in 18 states playing a record 1,152 games.

The ECHL welcomes nine new markets for 2003-04 with the addition of the Anchorage Aces, the Bakersfield Condors, the Fresno Falcons, the Gwinnett (Georgia) Gladiators, the Idaho (Boise) Steelheads, the Las Vegas Wranglers, the Long Beach Ice Dogs, the San Diego Gulls, and the Texas (Beaumont) Wildcatters.

In 2002-03, the 27 members of the ECHL had affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and 22 of the 28 teams in the American Hockey League. There were 90 former ECHL players that played in the NHL in 2002-03, including 20 who made their NHL debut, and there have been 215 former ECHL players that have gone on to play in the NHL. There were more than 80 players in the ECHL on AHL contracts in 2002-03 and the ECHL had 450 call ups to the AHL in 2002-03, more than any other professional league.

Four former ECHL players and a former ECHL official are in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. A former ECHL player has been part of the Stanley Cup Championship team in each of the past three years.

The ECHL had 36 former players on the rosters and five former coaches behind the benches of the NHL teams in the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There was an ECHL representative on 15 of the 16 teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the only team not having a former ECHL player or coach being Toronto. Peter Laviolette of the New York Islanders began his career with Wheeling in 1997-98 while Bruce Cassidy of the Washington Capitals coached Jacksonville from 1996-98 and Trenton from 1999-2000.

The ECHL was represented by 35 former players in the 2003 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championships in Finland. There were former ECHL players on the rosters of 13 of the 16 teams, including Martin Biron, a member of Canada’s gold medal winner.