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Syracuse to host 2016 AHL All-Star Classic

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the AHL Board of Governors has unanimously approved the selection of the Syracuse Crunch as host of the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic.

The 2016 AHL All-Star Classic will include the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 31, followed by the AHL All-Star Game on Monday, February 1, taking place at the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena in downtown Syracuse, N.Y.

“As we prepare to commemorate the American Hockey League’s 80th anniversary next season, we are excited to bring the All-Star Classic to one of the cities that served as a charter member of our league in 1936,” said Andrews. “The historic War Memorial Arena will provide a perfect backdrop to celebrate our past while showcasing the brightest young stars in hockey.”

While the Crunch enter their 22nd season as members of the AHL in 2015-16, the city’s history in the league can be traced back to the Syracuse Stars, who won the very first Calder Cup championship in 1936-37.

The American Hockey League will host a media conference to formally introduce the Syracuse Crunch as host of the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic on Wednesday, May 27, at 1 p.m., inside the Onondaga County War Memorial. Ticket information for the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic will be announced at that time; details about other social events taking place – including the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony – will be announced at a later date.

“We are excited and extremely honored for our team and community to host the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic,” said Syracuse Crunch owner Howard Dolgon. “Fans from Syracuse and around the region will be treated to an amazing two-day event both on and off the ice.”

“Hosting the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic is great news,” said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. “We’ve all seen Howard Dolgon’s ability to create exciting events that generate national attention for the Syracuse Crunch and I am excited to see what he has in store for the AHL All-Star Classic. Thank you to David Andrews and the AHL Board of Governors for honoring our strong hockey history and we look forward to welcoming all of you during the 80th anniversary season of the AHL.”

The 2016 AHL All-Star Classic will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: Of the 679 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Jiri Hudler, Tyler Johnson, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Miller, Gustav Nyquist, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Martin St. Louis, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, P.K. Subban and Mats Zuccarello.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 14th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2014-15.