American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the Manitoba Moose and the city of Winnipeg have been awarded the 2006 AHL All-Star Classic. Winnipeg was unanimously selected as the site at Sunday’s meeting of the AHL’s Board of Governors, and the announcement was made at Andrews’ annual league press conference during this year’s All-Star festivities in Grand Rapids.
The event will be held in downtown Winnipeg’s new MTS Centre, a 15,000-seat facility which is scheduled to open in November 2004.
“The AHL is excited to be bringing its annual All-Star showcase to Manitoba in 2006,” said Andrews. “The Moose organization and the fans of Winnipeg are most deserving of this honor.”
The Moose began play in Winnipeg in 1996 and joined the American Hockey League in 2001. The top development team of the Vancouver Canucks, the Moose are part of a tradition of professional hockey in the city of Winnipeg that dates back to 1972; this will be the city’s first pro hockey All-Star event.
“The Moose organization is very excited and honored at the prospect of showcasing the best young players in the world to a community with a very rich and proud hockey heritage,” said Mark Chipman, president of the Manitoba Moose and chairman of True North Sports & Entertainment, Ltd., which owns the Moose and the MTS Centre. “
The 2006 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 295 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 91 percent have competed in the NHL, including Tyler Arnason, Daniel Briere, Andrew Brunette, Anson Carter, Zdeno Chara, Pavol Demitra, Mike Dunham, Patrik Elias, Brendan Morrison, Vaclav Prospal, Dwayne Roloson, Marc Savard, Martin St. Louis, Steve Sullivan and Tomas Vokoun.
The 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic concludes tonight in Grand Rapids, Mich., with the annual AHL All-Star Game. The game is being televised to more than 108 million households on 21 regional television partners in the United States, and on Rogers Sportsnet nationally in Canada. The 2005 AHL All-Star Classic will take place in Manchester, N.H.