By: Jack Carnefix
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on Wednesday that the Rbk Hockey ECHL All-Star Game would be hosted by the Idaho Steelheads and the City of Boise on Jan. 17, 2007.
Boise Mayor David Bieter and ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna joined the Steelheads in making the announcement at a press conference held at Qwest Arena.
It will be the 15th anniversary of the annual midseason showcase of the top prospects in the Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League while the 10th edition of the Rbk Hockey Skills Competition will be held on Jan. 16 at Qwest Arena.
Tickets will be available in the fall with ticket packages ranging from $15-35. For more information visit the IdahoSteelheads.com or telephone (888) 330-8497.
“The ECHL is pleased and proud to bring our showcase event to Idaho in 2007. The Steelheads, in their brief history in the ECHL, have not only won a Kelly Cup championship, but have established themselves as a flagship member of our league,” said McKenna. “The All-Star Classic provides not only the game, but a three-day event with the skills competition, Fan Fest and various other activities in celebration of 10 years of professional hockey in Idaho.”
“This is a great opportunity to highlight Boise and the Steelheads, and I congratulate those who have worked so hard to make this announcement a reality,” said Mayor Bieter. “I’m confident that visiting players, team officials and fans will enjoy all that our community has to offer and I welcome them to Idaho’s capital city.”
Attended each year by representatives from both the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League, the All-Star Game has produced 28 players who have gone on to play in the NHL and in 2005-06 there were five former All-Star coaches working as assistant coaches in the NHL.
“We’re delighted that the ECHL and Rbk Hockey are giving us the opportunity to bring this event to our fans in Idaho,” said Glenn Stanford, president of Block22 which owns Qwest Arena, the Steelheads and The Grove Hotel. “The game will feature the most talented up-and-coming hockey players from around the world as well as giving us an opportunity to involve local youth hockey players in a very exciting skills competition.”
The game has been televised each of the past five years and in 2006 was available in more than 80 million homes on The NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, America One and OLN, the cable home of the NHL. It was also telecast live on the Internet and remains available on demand by Yahoo!
The audio broadcast was produced by NHL Radio and was available live on XM Satellite Radio, the nation’s leading satellite radio service with more than six million subscribers. The audio was broadcast live on the Internet and remains available on demand by Yahoo! for the eighth consecutive year in 2006.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Patrick J. Kelly Cup and the Stanley Cup were both displayed throughout the All-Star festivities, allowing fans the opportunity to see and take pictures with the postseason championship trophies of the ECHL and the NHL.
ECHL All-Star Games
2006 - National 7, American 6 at Fresno, Calif.
2005 - National 6, American 2 at Reading, Pa.
2004 - Eastern 7, Western 6 at Peoria, Ill.
2003 - North 8, South 2 at Estero, Fla.
2002 - South 7, North 6 at Trenton, N.J.
2001 - South 9, North 5 at Little Rock, Ark.
2000 - North 8, South 6 at Greenville, S.C.
1999 - South 7, North 4 at Biloxi, Miss.
1998 - Canada 11, USA/World 7 at Lafayette, La.
1997 - Charlotte 7, ECHL 6 at Charlotte, N.C.
1996 - North 10, South 7 at Tallahassee, Fla.
1995 - West 6, East 5 at Greensboro, N.C.
1994 - West 7, East 6 at Norfolk, Va.
1993 - East 7, West 3 at Wheeling, W.Va.
About The ECHL
The league officially changed its name to ECHL on May 19, 2003.
The Premier ‘AA’ Hockey League, the ECHL had affiliations with 25 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League in 2005-06.
There have been 303 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL, including a record 47 in 2005-06 and 158 in the past five seasons, and there were 13 former ECHL coaches behind the benches of NHL teams in 2005-06.
The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League in 2005-06 and for the past 17 years there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
The ECHL raised its average attendance for the third straight year in 2005-06 drawing 3,934,794 for 900 games which is an average of 4,372 per game, an increase of more than nine percent from 2004-05 and the largest per-game average since 1999-2000. Six teams surpassed 200,000 and nine teams averaged 5,000 per game for the first time since 1999-2000 as the league welcomed 39 sellout crowds and 13 of the 22 returning teams raised their average attendance from a year ago.