SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Kris Knoblauch of the Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Taylor of the Rochester Americans, Karl Taylor of the Milwaukee Admirals and Jay Varady of the Tucson Roadrunners have clinched the honor of coaching at the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Ontario International Airport, to be held January 26-27 in Ontario, Calif.
The Wolf Pack, Americans, Admirals and Roadrunners are all guaranteed to own the best record in their respective divisions as of the pre-determined deadline: the end of play Dec. 31, 2019.
Kris Knoblauch will guide the Atlantic Division All-Star team in his first season as a head coach in the professional ranks. The 41-year-old Knoblauch has guided Hartford to a record of 18-8-2-5 (.652) through Saturday’s action, including a league-best 13-1-0-2 mark at home. Knoblauch joined the New York Rangers organization on July 29 after two seasons as an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Chris Taylor heads to his first AHL All-Star Classic in his third season as head coach of the Amerks, who sit atop the North Division with a record of 20-7-2-2 (.710). Taylor, 47, led Rochester to playoff appearances in 2018 and 2019 and is a member of the Amerks Hall of Fame, having tallied 481 points in 519 games with the club during his playing career.
In his second season with Milwaukee, Karl Taylor has the Admirals at 23-5-3-2, good for a Central Division-best .773 points percentage. Taylor, 48, came to Milwaukee after four seasons as an assistant with the Texas Stars, including a trip to the Calder Cup Finals in 2018. This will be Taylor’s first appearance in the AHL All-Star Classic.
Jay Varady will coach the Pacific Division All-Star team thanks to Tucson’s league-leading 23-6-0-0 record (.793) entering Sunday’s action. Varady, 42, is in his second season as head coach of the Roadrunners, who rank second in the AHL in goals scored (3.86 per game) and third in goals allowed (2.41). Varady will be making his first AHL All-Star Classic appearance.
The AHL’s All-Stars will be divided into four teams, one representing each of the league’s four divisions, for the 2020 AHL All-Star Challenge on Monday, Jan. 27. 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, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3.
The 2020 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 26, will pit the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions against those from the two Western Conference divisions in seven skills events.
Playing rosters will be announced this coming week.
Tickets for the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Ontario International Airport, which include admission to both the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 26, and the AHL All-Star Challenge on Monday, Jan. 27, are available now by visiting ontarioreign.com/allstar.
The 2020 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Ontario International Airport will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 95 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Cam Atkinson, Patrice Bergeron, Jordan Binnington, Ben Bishop, John Carlson, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Connor Hellebuyck, Braden Holtby, Tyler Johnson, Andreas Johnsson, Martin Jones, Jonathan Marchessault, Brandon Montour, William Nylander, Kyle Palmieri, Zach Parise, Mikko Rantanen, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Dylan Strome, 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. Nearly 90 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 2018-19, over 7 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America.