PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Thursday that the television broadcast crew for the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game presented by Bud Light will be Darren Abbott of the South Carolina Stingrays, OLN analyst Neil Smith and Jack Michaels of the Alaska Aces.
The television broadcast schedule will be released as soon as it is finalized.
Abbott will be the play-by-play announcer with Smith doing color commentary for the fifth consecutive year and Michaels doing interviews with players, coaches and representatives from the ECHL and the National Hockey League.
Currently an analyst and the NHL “Insider” for OLN, Neil Smith brings years of broadcast experience having worked for ESPN, the NHL Network and TSN. Smith was general manager of the New York Rangers from 1989-2000 and in 1992 was promoted to president, becoming the first person in team history to hold both the title of general manager and president. During his tenure, which is the second-longest in team history to only the legendary Lester Patrick, Rangers captured three division titles, two Presidents’ Trophy honors, an Eastern Conference championship and a Stanley Cup championship. The championship in 1993-94 was the culmination of a season in which the Rangers set club records with 52 wins and 112 points and ended a 54-year run of Stanley Cup frustration. Following the 1991-92 and 1993-94 seasons, Smith was named Executive of the Year by The Hockey News and The Sporting News.
It is the third ECHL All-Star Game for Abbott, who worked on the audio broadcast in 2000 and on the television broadcast in 2003. He is in his seventh season as “Voice of the Stingrays” while also serving as the team’s director of public relations and broadcasting and host of the team’s weekly television show. He was the ECHL Broadcaster of the Year in 2003 and was ECHL Public Relations Director of the Year in 2000 and 2001, the only two-time winner in league history. Abbott began his career in the ECHL as the Stingrays’ public address announcer for home games and the color analyst for road games in 1996-97 and then spent two seasons as the play-by-play announcer and director of public relations and broadcasting for Roanoke before returning to South Carolina.
It is the second ECHL All-Star Game for Michaels, who was the play-by-play announcer for the television broadcast in 2004. He is in his fourth season as the “Voice of the Aces” and also serves as the team’s director of communications and team services. In his first season in the league in 2003-04, Michaels was ECHL Broadcaster of the Year and he was Broadcaster of the Year in the West Coast Hockey League in 2001 and 2003 and was the play-by-play announcer and broadcast coordinator for the 2001 WCHL All-Star Game. He broadcast college baseball, basketball and football in northwest Pennsylvania and was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters in 1997. Michaels graduated magna cum laude from Ithaca College where he broadcast Ithaca football, basketball, baseball, lacrosse and soccer while also broadcasting hockey and football for Cornell University.
The Fresno Falcons are the host for the 2006 ECHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 24 and the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game presented by Bud Light on Jan. 25. Both events will be at Save Mart Center and begin at 7 p.m. PT.