The ECHL on Friday announced that the coaches for the 2015 CCM / ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Visit Orlando will be Greg Poss of the Florida Everblades and Steve Martinson of the Allen Americans.
Poss will serve as head coach for the game by virtue of the Everblades having the ECHL’s top winning percentage through games of Dec. 27, 2014. Martinson is the assistant coach for the game by virtue of the Americans having the top winning percentage in the opposite conference through games of Dec. 27, 2014.
Ten coaches from the ECHL All-Star Game have gone on to coach in the National Hockey League while 62 players from the contest have gone on to play in the NHL, including 46 since 2002 when the lineups began having players who coaches felt were prospects to move up to a higher level.
Florida is 23-5-1, and leads the East Division with 48 points while Allen is 23-5-3 for 49 points to lead the Central Division.
It is the first All-Star coaching appearance for both Poss and Martinson. The record for All-Star appearances is three by Chris Cichocki, Glen Gulutzan, Davis Payne and Jeff Pyle.
The eighth class will be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame on Wednesday, Jan. 21, during a luncheon ceremony presented by BFL CANADA at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Downtown, the official host hotel of the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic.
The ECHL All-Star Fan Fest, presented by Walgreen’s, with player appearances, interactive game, prizes, giveaways, auctions, memorabilia, and a special Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit, will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 20. On Wednesday, Jan. 21, the day’s events include the ECHL Hall of Fame Luncheon and the 2015 CCM / ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Visit Orlando. Select ECHL Skills competitions will be held the same night and will be incorporated into the evening’s events.
Greg Poss, Florida Everblades
Greg Poss is in his fifth season as head coach of Florida having been named only the fourth coach in team history on June 23, 2010. In 2011-12, Poss led the Everblades to their first Kelly Cup title in the club’s existence.
The Green Bay, Wis. native joined the Everblades organization with an extensive coaching resume. Poss spent the 2009-10 season in the ECHL as an assistant coach with the Ontario Reign. Prior to that he spent eight seasons as a head coach in the German Elite League (DEL) with Iserlohn, Nuremberg and Mannheim. In 2006-07 he helped Mannheim become the first team in DEL history to finish in first place in the regular season, win the inter-league tournament and capture the league championship in the same year after leading the club to a 35-9-8 record. Poss’ coaching resume also includes national team experience. Most recently in 2009 he was an assistant coach with the USA Hockey team finished second in the Deutschland Cup. In 2004 and 2005 Poss was the head coach of the German Senior National Teams that participated in the Deutschland Cup and 2005 World Championships.
His international coaching experience began in 2003 as an assistant coach of the USA Hockey team that finished first in the Deutschland Cup then followed that in 2004 as an assistant coach of the USA Hockey team that won bronze in the World Championships in Prague.
As a player Poss played on the professional level for three seasons in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League. In two years from 1989-91 with the Maine Mariners of the AHL Poss tallied 44 points (17g-27a) and 103 penalty minutes in 109 games. In 1991-92 Poss skated in just 18 games with the Peoria Rivermen of the IHL tallying five points (1g-4a) and 41 penalty minutes before suffering a career-ending knee injury. Before advancing to the professional ranks Poss played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin from 1985-1989 where he posted 25 points in 101 games.
Steve Martinson, Allen Americans
Steve Martinson joined the Allen Americans in 2012-13 as head coach and general manager. Prior to Allen, Martinson coached the Chicago Express in their only season in the ECHL. Martinson helped the Allen Americans’ organization win their only two professional championships in 2012-13 and 2013-14.
A native of Minnetonka, Minn., he played professionally for 12 years spanning from 1981-96, at several different levels. Martinson played in 50 games in the National Hockey League, for parts of four seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens and Minnesota North Stars.
Martinson began his coaching career in 1996 with the San Diego Gulls of the WCHL, where he coached for nine seasons and over 600 games, winning five championships. During his ECHL expansion season in 2003-04 with San Diego, his club set an ECHL record for most points by an expansion team with 100 points.
Following San Diego, he spent three seasons in Rockford of the UHL, where he won a championship with the IceHogs in 2006-07.
In his 16 years of coaching, Martinson has failed to reach the post-season only once. He won his first championship in the Central Hockey League in 2012-13 as Allen defeated Wichita in seven games. He won his 800th game against the Rapid City Rush on March 14, 2014.
Martinson was a tough, gritty player during his playing days, racking up more than 3,000 penalty minutes over his 12-year career. He holds the single season American Hockey League mark for most major penalties in a season with 49, in 1985-86.
Off the ice, Martinson earned his Business Management degree in 1981, from St Cloud State University. Martinson and his wife, Michelle, reside in Illinois in the offseason along with their two children, Logan and Lily.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 21 teams in 14 states for its 27th season in 2014-15. There have been 553 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 12 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2014-15 season. The ECHL has 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.