The Laval Rocket will play host to the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic at Place Bell on February 5-6, 2023.
On Sunday, February 5, the 2023 Rona AHL All-Star Skills Competition will pit the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions against those from the two Western Conference divisions in seven skills events.
For the AHL All-Star Challenge taking place on Monday, February 6, the All-Stars will be divided into four teams. Each team will be representing each of the league’s four divisions: Pacific, Central, Atlantic, and North. There will be a round robin, 3-on-3 tournament featuring six games with a game time of 10 minutes each. At the end of the round robin, the two teams with the best records will face off in a six-minute, 3-on-3 championship.
At the end of play on January 1, the Hershey Bears, Toronto Marlies, Texas Stars, and Calgary Wranglers held the best record in their respective divisions. Therefore, their head coaches will be the bench boss for each division in the 2023 AHL All-Star Challenge.
The Atlantic Division will be coached by Hershey head coach Todd Nelson. In his first year as head coach of the Bears, Nelson has led his team to a 22-7-2-1 record in the first half of the 2022-23 season. Nelson is no stranger to coaching the All-Star Challenge as he manned the bench in both 2012 and 2017.
After the Marlies posted a record of 19-9-1-1 for the front half of the season, Greg Moore will have the honor of coaching the North Division. He will also join Peter Laviolette and John Stevens as the only people to participate in AHL All-Star Classics as both a player and a head coach.
Neil Graham will coach the Central Division after the Stars posted a first half record of 19-7-3-2. A huge chunk of Texas’ success came in December when they won 10 of the 11 games they played. The lone one they lost was in overtime. This will be Graham’s first AHL All-Star appearance.
The Pacific Division will be guided by Mitch Love of the Wranglers. During the first half of the season, he coached Calgary to a record of 21-7-1-0. Love is no stranger to winning games, as he was awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Award for the AHL’s outstanding coach after guiding the Stockton Heat to the best record ever by a Calgary Flames affiliate.
On January 4, Syracuse Crunch forward Gabriel Dumont and Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Brian Lashoff were selected as playing captains for the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic. Lashoff and Dumont were selected by the league president in recognition of their outstanding leadership and service.
Both players are in their 13th year of professional hockey and are the captains of their respective teams.
Lambert went to the Calder Cup Finals during all four of the seasons he played in the AHL. He won championships with the Nova Scotia Voyageurs in 1972 and the Rochester Americans in 1983. Over the course of 301 games in the AHL, Lambert notched 123 goals and 138 assists. His time in the NHL was just as fruitful as the AHL, winning four consecutive Stanley Cups with the Canadiens from 1976-79.
Keane played 443 games spanning seven seasons in the AHL. Of those seven seasons, five were spent as captain of the Manitoba Moose from 2005-2010. In 2007, Keane was voted the winner of the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award for sportsmanship, determination, and dedication to hockey. It wasn’t even a full season after Keane retired that Manitoba decided to retire his jersey.
The honorary captains will join the participating teams in the locker room and on the benches during the All-Star Classic. They will also be recognized for their careers at the annual AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony.
David Andrews, Keith Aucoin, Nolan Baumgartner, Dave Creighton, and BIll Torrey will also be inducted to the AHL Hall of Fame at this year’s ceremony.
D Zac Jones – Hartford Wolfpack (1st) (Added on January 27th)
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