SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews announced today that Shawn Thornton and Rob Murray have been selected to serve as the honorary captains for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield, to be held January 27-28 in Springfield, Mass.
Each year, the All-Star Classic honorary captains join the participating teams in the locker room and on the benches during the event, and are recognized for their careers at the annual AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony.
One of four players in history with at least 600 games played in both the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League, Shawn Thornton was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1997 and spent five full seasons in the AHL before making his NHL debut on Oct. 10, 2002. Thornton went on to play 20 professional seasons before retiring in 2017, including 605 regular-season games in the AHL with the St. John’s Maple Leafs, Norfolk Admirals and Portland Pirates as well as 705 regular-season games (and 105 playoff contests) in the NHL with Chicago, Anaheim, Boston and Florida. A Stanley Cup champion with the Ducks in 2007 and the Bruins in 2011, Thornton is currently serving as the Panthers’ vice president of business operations.
Rob Murray played 15 seasons in the AHL from 1988 to 2003, including 501 games over three separate stints as a fan favorite with the Springfield Falcons. A 2017 inductee into the AHL Hall of Fame, Murray is one of seven players in league history with at least 1,000 regular-season games played, also suiting up in Baltimore, Moncton, Hamilton, Philadelphia and Saint John. Murray served as captain for four different franchises – as well as for the Canadian team at the 1997 AHL All-Star Classic – and also played 107 contests in the NHL with Washington and Winnipeg/Phoenix. Murray later spent eight seasons behind the bench for the AHL’s Providence Bruins, including three (2008-11) as head coach; he is currently in his second year as head coach of the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers.
Tickets for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield are priced at $39, $49, $59 and $99, and include admission to both the Skills Competition on Jan. 27 and the All-Star Challenge on Jan. 28. Tickets are available now at springfieldthunderbirds.com/allstar.
The 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield 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 Allen, Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Connor Hellebuyck, Braden Holtby, Tyler Johnson, Martin Jones, Jonathan Marchessault, Brandon Montour, William Nylander, Zach Parise, Mikko Rantanen, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Jason Spezza, 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. More than 87 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 2017-18, over 6 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America for the 17th year in a row.