Allentown All Star Today: Monday HoF and “Classic” Game

Leier scores on Linus Ullmark during warmups for the skills competition. Photo: Kram

Leier scores on Linus Ullmark during warmups for the skills competition.
Photo: Kram

Last Night

The West took the night as the East went 0-for-20 on the shootout to conclude the skills competition.  Someone said to me Saturday night, “It goes fast.”  And, it did.  For a minute I thought it was dragging–but  then I turned around and it was over.  Still it was great to see so many different AHL jerseys visiting our great arena and everyone seemed to have a good time.  I loved seeing the mascots as well–even Tux and Coco.

The worst part of the night was the US National Anthem.  I attend many, many sporting events in the course of the years–and I think that might have been the worst.  Let’s list the ways:

  • Four notes for every word.
  • She was on a 10-minute pace; I don’t think Sal Rende’s stopwatch goes up that far!
  • She stopped singing–or perhaps the mic went out.
  • She changed keys several times.
  • She changed the words.

The best, of course, was when the crowd picked up the singing for her–without missing a beat.

I left at the conclusion of the competition, but many stayed around for interaction with the players near the ice and post-game festivities.  Hopefully all got home OK and are in one piece this morning.

HALL OF FAME DAY!

Time:  11:00AM

Place:  Miller Symphony Hall, 6th/Linden

Doors:  10:30AM (I think–not sure)

Tickets:  Required for General Admission.  Full All Star Package holders should contact a representative from the Phantoms to see if any tickets are available.  Most tickets controlled by the AHL.

Honors:  Billy Dea, Bryan Helmer, Rob Murray and Doug Yingst.  The ceremony will also celebrate honorary All-Star Classic captains Daniel Briere and Terry Murray.

More on the honorees, from the league:

CLASS OF 2017

Billy Dea
dea1Edmonton native Billy Dea spent more than half of his 19-year professional career in the American Hockey League, where his consistency, durability and reliability made him one of the league’s all-time greats.

After seeing time in the National Hockey League with New York, Detroit and Chicago, Dea made his AHL debut with the Buffalo Bisons on Oct. 8, 1958. Over the next eight seasons, Dea played in every single one of the Bisons’ contests, breaking Bill Needham’s league ironman record on Christmas night in 1965. Dea finally missed a game on Feb. 12, 1966, ending the streak at an amazing 548 straight (plus 48 more in the playoffs) – a mark that may never be broken.

A hard-working and popular winger, Dea had his most productive offensive season in 1960-61, when he set career bests with 35 goals and 74 points. He helped the Bisons return to the league finals in 1962, and was an important part of their Calder Cup championship team in 1963.

Dea spent nine seasons in Buffalo, eclipsing the 20-goal mark each year and reaching the 50-point plateau six times. He returned to the NHL with Chicago, Pittsburgh and Detroit before finishing his playing career with the AHL’s Tidewater Wings in 1971-72.

Bryan Helmer
helmer-her3Unheralded and undrafted after four seasons of Junior “A” and Junior “B” hockey, Bryan Helmer went on to play more games and record more assists and points than any defenseman in the history of the American Hockey League.

A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Helmer made his pro debut with the Albany River Rats in 1993 and played five seasons in Albany, helping the club to a Calder Cup championship in 1995 and earning First Team AHL All-Star honors in 1997-98. Helmer later skated for the Worcester IceCats (1998-2000), the Manitoba Moose (2001-03) and the Springfield Falcons (2003-04) before joining the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he did not miss a single game during two seasons and was named a Second Team AHL All-Star in 2005-06.

Helmer then spent two years as captain of the San Antonio Rampage (2006-08) and then two seasons with the Hershey Bears (2008-10), where he captained the club to back-to-back Calder Cup championships. In 2009, Helmer was selected to wear the “C” for the Canadian team at the AHL All-Star Classic.

Helmer joined the Oklahoma City Barons in 2010, and on Feb. 18, 2011, became the seventh player in league history to reach 1,000 regular-season games. He was the recipient of the league’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award in 2010-11, as the player exemplifying sportsmanship, determination and dedication to hockey.

After two seasons with the Barons, Helmer completed his 20-year professional playing career back in Springfield, retiring in 2013 in third place all-time with 1,117 regular-season games played, and first among AHL defensemen with 435 assists and 564 points. Helmer also played more postseason games (159) than anyone in AHL history – including seven trips to the conference finals and his three Calder Cups – and he finished with a cumulative plus/minus rating of +188, finishing at +15 or better eight times.

Rob Murray 
murray1Respected by both teammates and opponents for his leadership and hard-nosed play, Rob Murray spent 15 seasons as a forward in the American Hockey League.

A third-round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in 1985, Murray made his AHL debut with the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1988-89, racking up 34 points and finishing second on the team with 235 penalty minutes. He joined the Winnipeg Jets organization in 1991 and spent most of the next nine seasons with their AHL affiliates, first in Moncton – where he helped the Hawks reach the Calder Cup Finals in 1994 after scoring 25 goals in the regular season – and then in Springfield, where he quickly became a fan favorite and the face of the city’s new Falcons franchise.

After finishing the 1999-2000 season in Hamilton, Murray signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and began 2000-01 as captain of the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms before returning the Falcons later that year. He then spent one season with the Saint John Flames before finishing his career with a third stint in Springfield in 2002-03, becoming the sixth player ever to reach 1,000 regular-season games in the AHL and eventually helping the club to the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Murray reached double digits in goals eight times and triple digits in penalty minutes 12 times during his playing career, and currently ranks second in AHL history with 2,940 PIM and seventh with 1,018 games played. The Toronto native wore the “C” for four different AHL franchises, as well as for the Canadian team at the 1997 AHL All-Star Classic.

Murray transitioned immediately into coaching and spent eight seasons behind the bench with the AHL’s Providence Bruins, winning a Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy (regular-season champions) as an assistant in 2007-08 and reaching the conference finals in his first year as head coach in 2008-09.

Doug Yingst 
yingst1The successor to a Hockey Hall of Famer, Doug Yingst made a name for himself during a storied 34-year career as an executive with the Hershey Bears.

Hired as the Bears’ sales and promotions director in 1982, Yingst won the AHL’s Ken McKenzie Award for outstanding promotion of his club in 1987-88 as the Bears captured the Calder Cup. He was promoted to assistant general manager under the legendary Frank Mathers in 1988, and in 1990 added the role of director of hockey operations.

Yingst was named GM in 1996, and in his first season in that position the Bears won a Calder Cup championship. He later established an affiliation with the Washington Capitals in 2005 that began the greatest five-year run by any team in league history, with three more Calder Cup titles, four Finals appearances and a record 60-win season in 2009-10.

Yingst oversaw the groundbreaking for Giant Center, which opened in 2002 as one of the premier facilities in the AHL, and guided the Bears to 10 consecutive seasons of league-leading attendance from 2006-16. He was instrumental in bringing two AHL All-Star Classics to Hershey (1996, 2011), and also orchestrated the first-ever outdoor game in the region at Hersheypark Stadium in 2013.

A long-time member of the AHL’s Board of Governors and chairman of several league committees, Yingst was honored with the James C. Hendy Award as the league’s outstanding executive in both 2000 and 2006, and was the recipient of the Thomas Ebright Award for his career contributions in 2008.

Yingst retired in 2016 after one more trip to the Calder Cup Finals, the eighth of his career. His four championships as general manager are tied for the most of anyone in league history.

 

ALL STAR CLASSIC

The culmination of a weekend of hockey is the 3-on-3 tournament between the Atlantic, North, Central and Pacific divisions.

Puck Drop:  7:00PM

Doors:  5:30PM

Tickets:  Good seats are still available from PPLCenter.com as well as the secondary markets.  The event is expected to sell out, so purchase early if planning to come today.

Parking and Downtown:  If just coming in for this event, check out my EVENT FAQ as well as my PARKING MANIFESTO for additional information.  Bring $6 in cash.

Broadcast:  Available on many cable channels across the US and Canada.  Also, free via AHL-Live.  CLICK HERE for more information.  The audio is available on SIRIUS/XM NHL channel, Locally AM-1470, Arena 89.9FM, App: Phantoms365 and online at phantomshockey.com.

App:  The Phantoms365 app includes all the information you need while you’re at the arena and to keep up with the events tonight.  Check it out.

 

Rosters:

(images and links courtesy TheAHL.com)

 

16_AHL_ALL_STAR_XTHEME_ATLANTIC_1.3
Chris Bourque
her14_200F (capt.)
Chris
Bourque
Travis Boyd
her14_200F
Travis
Boyd
T.J. Brennan
lv14_200D
T.J.
Brennan
Danton Heinen
pro14_200F
Danton
Heinen
Tristan Jarry
wbs14_200G
Tristan
Jarry
Nicklas Jensen
hfd14_200F
Nicklas
Jensen
Taylor Leier
lv14_200F
Taylor
Leier
Zane McIntyre
pro14_200G
Zane
McIntyre

bri14_200D
Devon
Toews
David Warsofsky
wbs14_200D
David
Warsofsky
Jordan Weal
lv14_200F
Jordan
Weal
MacKenzie Weegar
spr16_200D
Mackenzie
Weegar
donatelli_clark
wbs14_200Coach
Clark
Donatelli
Casey Bailey
bng14_200F
Casey
Bailey
Justin Bailey
rch14_200F
Justin
Bailey
Cory Conacher
syr14_200F
Cory
Conacher
Yanni Gourde
syr14_200F
Yanni
Gourde
Alexandre Grenier
uti14_200F
Alexandre
Grenier
Charlie Lindgren
stj15_200G
Charlie
Lindgren
Kerby Rychel
tor16_200F
Kerby
Rychel
Cole Schneider
rch14_200F
Cole
Schneider
Jordan Subban
uti14_200D
Jordan
Subban
Matt Taormina
syr14_200D
Matt
Taormina
Chris Terry
stj15_200F
Chris
Terry
Linus Ullmark
rch14_200G
Linus
Ullmark
Benoit Groulx
syr14_200Coach
Benoit
Groulx
Spencer Abbott
rfd14_200F
Spencer
Abbott
Kenny Agostino
chi14_200F
Kenny
Agostino
Oliver Bjorkstrand
cle16_200F
Oliver
Bjorkstrand
Alexandre Carrier
mil15_200D
Alexandre
Carrier
Ryan Craig
cle16_200F (capt.)
Ryan
Craig
Vince Dunn
chi14_200D
Vince
Dunn
Anton Forsberg
cle16_200G
Anton
Forsberg
Michael Leighton
cha14_200G
Michael
Leighton
Matt Lorito
gr15_200F
Matt
Lorito
Jack Roslovic
mtb15_200F
Jack
Roslovic
Robbie Russo
gr15_200D
Robbie
Russo
Alex Tuch
ia14_200F
Alex
Tuch
Todd Nelson
gr15_200Coach
Todd
Nelson
Jonny Brodzinski
ont15_200F
Jonny
Brodzinski
Jack Campbell
ont15_200G
Jack
Campbell
Christian Fischer
tuc16_200F
Christian
Fischer
A.J. Greer
sa14_200F
A.J.
Greer
Troy Grosenick
sjb15_200G
Troy
Grosenick
Mark Jankowski
stk15_200F
Mark
Jankowski
Vincent LoVerde
ont15_200D
Vincent
LoVerde
Brandon Montour
sd15_200D
Brandon
Montour
Jordan Oesterlebak15_200D
Jordan
Oesterle
Daniel O'Regan
sjb15_200F
Daniel
O’Regan
Matej Stransky
tex15_200F
Matej
Stransky
Kyle Wood
tuc16_200D
Kyle
Wood
Mike Stothers
ont15_200Coach
Mike
Stothers

 

Schedule:

10 minute games, two per period for three periods.  Top two teams face off in 6-minute final.

Period One:

Atlantic vs Central

North vs Pacific

Period Two:

Central vs. North

Atlantic vs. Pacific

Period Three:

Central vs. Pacific

Atlantic vs. North

Championship:  

Two teams with best records–I’m going to assume 2pts for a win, 1 pt each for a tie?

 

Have fun folks, and I’ll

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

 

PS:  For those asking, my “beer from every AHL city” has been suspended due to unforeseen circumstances.  I made it about 14 beers in counting for about 17 teams/cities but not able to continue with a final push today.  Perhaps I’ll write about it in the future.



Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey, PPL Center Arena

Tags: ,

1 reply

  1. This sounds like one anthem Service Electric was glad they skipped!

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