Springfield to host 2019 AHL All-Star Classic

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the Springfield Thunderbirds and MGM Springfield have been selected as hosts of the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic, to be held at the MassMutual Center on Jan. 27-28, 2019.

“We are excited to be bringing the AHL All-Star Classic to one of the American Hockey League’s keystone cities in 2019,” said Andrews. “Springfield has owned a hallowed place on the AHL landscape dating back to the league’s formation, and has been home to countless Hall of Famers and hockey legends over the last 82 years. We are looking forward to working with the Thunderbirds organization and MGM Springfield to put hockey’s brightest young stars on display for fans at the MassMutual Center and an international television audience.”

The 2019 AHL All-Star Classic will be the 25th event since it was reintroduced in 1995. Springfield last hosted the showcase on Dec. 10, 1959, when the Springfield Indians took on a team of AHL all-stars at the Eastern States Coliseum.

“The support of the city, MGM Springfield, our partners and the fans made hosting the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic a reality in less than two years’ time,” said Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa. “As an organization, we have prided ourselves on striving for excellence in everything we do, and to be able to host our league’s signature event here in Springfield is an exemplification of the time and effort our entire team has put into this franchise. It’s truly an incredible honor.”

The 2019 AHL All-Star Classic will include the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 27, followed by the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony on Monday, January 28 and the 2019 AHL All-Star Challenge that evening. Tickets for the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic are priced at $39, $49, $59 and $99, and include admission to both the Skills Competition and the All-Star Challenge. Tickets can be reserved now by calling (413) 739-GOAL or by visiting springfieldthunderbirds.com/allstar; priority preference will be given to existing and new Springfield Thunderbirds season-ticket members who put down a deposit for 2018-19 memberships.

The official event logo, along with details and ticket information for other social events to take place during the All-Star Classic, will be announced at a later date.

“I just can’t say enough about the tremendous job our local Springfield ownership, led by Paul Picknelly, has done in promoting and marketing great professional hockey and a family fun environment with our beloved Thunderbirds,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “Having the AHL All-Star Classic here is a fitting tribute to our loyal fans and local ownership and management.”

“We’re bringing The Show back to Springfield, and we’re just getting started,” said Michael Mathis, President and Chief Operating Officer of MGM Springfield. “In hosting the AHL All-Star Classic, we’re delivering on our commitment to bring world-class sporting events and entertainment to downtown Springfield. Hockey has always been a cornerstone to this great American city, and we’re honored to stand with the Springfield Thunderbirds in this momentous occasion. We look forward to welcoming the sport’s most prolific and inspiring superstars to downtown Springfield in 2019.”

The 2019 AHL All-Star Classic will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 94 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Jake AllenPatrice BergeronBen BishopRyan CallahanZdeno CharaLogan Couture, Connor HellebuyckBraden HoltbyTyler JohnsonMartin JonesChris Kunitz, Jonathan Marchessault, Zach PariseTuukka RaskPekka RinneBobby RyanCory SchneiderPatrick SharpJason SpezzaP.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.