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Lindsay A. Mogle/AHL

AHL All-Star Classic returning to Utica

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the Utica Comets have been selected as hosts of the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino on Jan. 28-29, 2018.

“The American Hockey League is thrilled to be returning to the Mohawk Valley for our All-Star Classic,” said Andrews. “We owe great thanks to Robert Esche and the Comets organization, the State of New York and Turning Stone Resort Casino for offering their first-class facilities and accommodations once again so that we can showcase our brightest stars in front of capacity crowds and international television audiences.”

The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino will include the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 28, followed by the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony on Monday, January 29 and the 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge that evening. The Skills Competition and the All-Star Challenge will take place at the newly renovated Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in downtown Utica; all other events during the All-Star Classic will take place at Turning Stone Resort Casino in nearby Verona, N.Y.

The 2018 AHL All-Star Skills Competition will pit the All-Stars from the Eastern Conference against those from the Western Conference in seven skills events, including hardest shot, fastest skater and accuracy shooting. In the 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge, the league’s all-stars will be divided into four teams, representing each of the league’s divisions (Atlantic, North, Central, Pacific), and the teams will participate in a round-robin 3-on-3 tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship in a final six-minute game.

Tickets for the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino are priced at $39, $49, $69, $89 and $99, and include admission to both the Skills Competition on Jan. 28 and the All-Star Challenge on Jan. 29. Utica Comets season-ticket holders will have an opportunity to reserve their seats beginning Oct. 23; remaining tickets will go on sale to the public on Nov. 4 at 10 a.m. ET (in person) and noon ET (online).

Details and ticket information for other social events to take place during the All-Star Classic, including the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony, will be announced at a later date.

The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 93 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Jake Allen, Artem Anisimov, Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Braden Holtby, Tyler Johnson, Martin Jones, Chris Kunitz, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, P.K. Subban and Mats Zuccarello.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives, broadcasters and staff of all 31 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2016-17, over 6 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America for the 16th year in a row.