09/10/2013 8:11 AM
St. John’s, N.L., to host league’s brightest against top Swedish club team
Springfield, Mass.- American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the St. John’s IceCaps and Mile One Centre have been selected to host the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic on Feb. 11-12, 2014, and that the event will have a special international flavor.
Taking place just prior to the start of the men’s Olympic hockey tournament, the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic in St. John’s, N.L., will see a team of American Hockey League All-Stars face off against Färjestad BK, one of the top professional teams in the Swedish Hockey League, in a two-day event including a Skills Competition on Tuesday, Feb. 11 and the All-Star Game on Wednesday, Feb. 12.
“I would like to thank Färjestad, the Swedish Hockey League and the St. John’s IceCaps for their commitment to making this very special opportunity a reality,” said Andrews. “The city and fans of St. John’s have wholly embraced the IceCaps since our league returned to Newfoundland and Labrador, and this historic and memorable event is an excellent way for us to showcase our brightest stars to what will truly be an international audience.”
The 2014 AHL All-Star Classic will mark the first time ever that a Swedish Hockey League team has competed in North America. Founded in 1932 and based in the city of Karlstad, Sweden, Färjestad BK – led by team CEO Håkan Loob – is one of the most successful franchises in all of European hockey, playing in 19 league finals and winning nine Swedish league championships, including four since 2002.
“The St. John’s IceCaps organization is extremely proud to showcase our city and Newfoundland and Labrador to an international audience as host of the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic,” said Danny Williams, President and CEO of the St. John’s IceCaps. “Hosting one of Sweden’s elite teams will be a first for the American Hockey League and will undoubtedly ignite hockey fever throughout the province. We look forward to bringing this exciting event to hockey fans around the world.”
“The SHL is proud to be a part of this event and it is a positive step in the direction our league is heading,” said Jörgen Lindgren, CEO of the Swedish Hockey League. “Most importantly, we are proud to give North American hockey fans a unique sports experience.”
The international telecast of the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic in St. John’s will be produced and aired live by Sportsnet. In addition to the Skills Competition and All-Star Game, the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic in St. John’s – the 20th edition of the league’s modern All-Star festivities – will also include social events as well as the 2014 AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony.
The 2014 AHL All-Star Classic in St. John’s will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League. Of the 630 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since the event was reinstated in 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Daniel Briere, Ryan Callahan, Zdeno Chara, Jimmy Howard, Niklas Kronwall, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Martin St. Louis, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza and Eric Staal.
In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 12th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2012-13.