|The 2015 ECHL All-Star game takes place January 21|
I recently received an All-Star ballot as a member of the media for what is officially called the "2015 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic Presented By Visit Orlando" and realized how little is known about the event especially for those fans of the seven former CHL teams that just moved to the ECHL this season. Here is some information put together that answers some of the questions about the upcoming ECHL All-Star game. A special thanks to ECHL Director of Communications, Joe Babik, who promptly answered numerous questions posed to him over the last week about the All-Star game.
- The format for the 2015 All-Star game will be the host team (Orlando Solar Bears) taking on the All-Stars selected from the other ECHL teams. For many years the All-Star game was one conference against the other conference but in 2011 the format was changed to host team versus the All-Stars. Teams have to bid to host the All-Star game and it takes a lot of time and money so there are not a lot of teams willing to take the risk. There was no All-Star game in 2014 and 2012. The last All-Star game (2013) was hosted by the Colorado Eagles. Here are some details:
Q: How are the All-Stars selected?
A: The starting line up is determined in voting by coaches, team captains, broadcasters, media relations directors and media members. Coaches also submit a separate line up (goalie, two defensemen, three forwards) who they feel are the top prospects at their respective positions and this voting by the coaches is used to determine the balance of the roster. The All-Star game is intended to showcase the younger prospects in the ECHL. So other than the starting line up don't look for established stars on the team. At the last All-Star game (2013) only two of the leagues top ten scorers made the All-Star team.
Q: Who coaches the All-Star team?
A: The coaches are selected based on the best record as of a predetermined date. The coach with the highest winning percentage in the league serves as the "head coach" while the coach with the best record in the other conference serves as the "assistant coach." If the All-Star coaches were selected today Florida Everblades coach, Greg Poss would be the head coach and Allen Americans head coach, Steve Martinson would be the assistant coach.
Q: How many players are on the All-Star team?
A: There are 21 players selected to the team. Three goalies, six defensemen and twelve forwards.
|ECHL All-Star Jersey|
Q: What is the style of play at the All-Star game?
A: Like the NHL game the ECHL All-Star game has always been a high scoring affair with little emphasis on defense or physical play. The winning team has never scored fewer than six goals and the average number of goals scored by both team is over 13. In the last two All-Star games the host teams have lost to the All-Stars. In 2013 Colorado lost to the All-Stars 7-3 and in 2011 Bakersfield lost 9-3.
Q: Is there a skills competition as part of the All-Star game?
A: There will be a truncated skills competition during pregame and the first intermission. It will be similar to the NHL skills competition but not all events will be held. The league is still working out the details on the skills competition.
Q: Will the game be televised?
A: The game will be televised and once plans are finalized the ECHL will send out a press release with the details. In the past the ECHL All-Star game has been televised by the NHL Network as well as multiple regional networks and broadcast on satellite radio.
Q: Do the players get paid to play in the All-Star game?
A: Yes, according to the ECHL collective bargaining agreement each player that participates receives a flat fee of $300 from the host team in addition to transportation, accommodations and meals.
Q: When will the team and coaches be announced.
A: The All-Star balloting is complete and the results are being compiled. The exact date for the announcement will be kept a surprise but should be after the first of the year. Likewise the day used to select the coaches for the All-Star game is not known in order to make that announcement more exciting.
It is called the All-Star Classic because it is a week long event that begins with a youth hockey tournament with more than 50 teams from all over the US and Canada competing January 16-19. On Tuesday (January 20) there will be the ECHL All-Star Fan Fest with player appearances, interactive games, prizes, giveaways, auctions, and a special Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit. On All-Star Wednesday, January 21st, the day's events include an open practice, the ECHL Hall of Fame Luncheon, and the All-Star game in the evening. There is a web site (echlallstarclassic.com) where you can get all of the details, order tickets, get room reservations, etc.
Here is what ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna had to say about the All-Star Classic, "We all know the city of Orlando is a great destination, couple that with a world class arena and the strong following the Solar Bears have developed and we have the perfect location for the 2015 All-Star Classic."
The game will be played at the Amway Center which is located in downtown Orlando. It was opened in 2010 and had a construction cost of 480 million dollars. It has a capacity for hockey of 17,353. In addition to being the home of the Solar Bears it is the home of the NBA Orlando Magic.
Because the emphasis of the ECHL All-Star game is showcasing younger players there are numerous officials from the NHL and AHL in attendance.
DID YOU KNOW: The 2010 ECHL All-Star game was one for the record books. The game was played in Ontario, California between All-Stars from the two conferences. The two teams combined for 19 goals to set a record for most goals in an ECHL All-Star game and the game went into overtime. The American Conference ended up winning the game 10-9 in a shootout.