Hershey to host ’11 AHL All-Star Classic

HERSHEY, Pa. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews has announced that the Hershey Bears and the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company will host the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic at Giant Center on Sunday, January 30 and Monday, January 31, 2011, during the AHL’s historic 75th anniversary season.

The announcement was made on the Giant Center ice during the first intermission of the Bears’ game tonight against the Syracuse Crunch.

“There is no better place to hold the signature event of our 75th anniversary season than in the most historic and celebrated town in all of professional hockey,” said Andrews. “The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic will give us an opportunity to show the hockey world our sport’s best young players and to celebrate our league and our storied history in a place synonymous with the American Hockey League over the last seven decades.”

The 2011 event will take place Sunday, Jan. 30, and Monday, Jan. 31, and will mark the first time that the AHL All-Star Classic will be held at Giant Center, the 10,500-seat building that has already hosted three Calder Cup Finals and countless other memorable moments during its eight-year existence. Hershey has previously hosted All-Star events at Hersheypark Arena in 1954, 1959 and 1996.

The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic will also mark a return to an East vs. West format, pitting players from each of the AHL’s two conferences against each other. This will be the first East-West All-Star Game in the AHL since 1942.

Hershey, Pa., has been home to the American Hockey League’s most storied franchise since 1938, and the Bears have captured a record 10 Calder Cup championships in that time. Through the decades, Chocolatetown has boasted some of the most notable figures in our sport’s history, including AHL Hall of Famers Frank Mathers, Willie Marshall, Tim Tookey, Mike Nykoluk, Gil Mayer, John Paddock and Bruce Boudreau.

“On behalf of the entire Hershey family, the Bears are honored to be joining the American Hockey League in celebrating its 75th anniversary by hosting the 2011 All-Star Classic here at Giant Center,” said Doug Yingst, President and General Manager of the Hershey Bears. “This world-class event will shine an international spotlight on our community and our fans, and we are excited to be a part of such a historic occasion.”

The event logo for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic was also unveiled, and can be viewed on theahl.com.

The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey 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 528 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, Brad Boyes, Dan Boyle, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Tomas Fleischmann, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Bobby Ryan, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Tomas Vokoun.