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AHL stars to shine in Toronto next year

TORONTO, Ont. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews has announced that the Toronto Marlies and the city of Toronto have been awarded the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic. The announcement was made this evening at the Air Canada Centre.

“The American Hockey League is excited to be bringing its premier event to Toronto, a city synonymous with our sport,” said Andrews. “The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will be a showcase of the very best young professional players from all 30 NHL organizations, and a celebration of the American Hockey League and its rich tradition. We’re proud to be working with the Marlies and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to host this event at Ricoh Coliseum.”

Built in 1922 on the grounds of Exhibition Place, Ricoh Coliseum is one of the oldest sporting venues in North America. In 2003, it underwent a wholesale renovation to become one of the finest facilities in the American Hockey League.

“Our entire organization is excited about the opportunity to host such a high-profile hockey event,” said Bob Hunter, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Air Canada Centre. “It will bring exposure to both our new hockey team, our great venue in Ricoh Coliseum and the City of Toronto. The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic is an event that both our Marlies and Maple Leafs hockey fans in and around the Greater Toronto Area will celebrate.”

Also unveiled at the press conference was the event logo, which can be viewed on theahl.com.

The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League, competing in the AHL All-Star Skills Competition and the AHL All-Star Game. Of the 394 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 92 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Steve Sullivan, as well as current Marlies John Pohl and Bates Battaglia.

The 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic took place last week in Winnipeg, and was broadcast to nearly 100 million homes on Rogers Sportsnet across Canada and on 20 regional AHL television partners in the United States. Dates for the 2007 event have not yet been determined.