SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... The American Hockey League announced today that Jay Leach of the Providence Bruins, Sheldon Keefe of the Toronto Marlies, Pascal Vincent of the Manitoba Moose and Mike Van Ryn of the Tucson Roadrunners have clinched the honor of coaching at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino, to be held January 28-29 in Utica, N.Y.
The Bruins, Marlies, Moose and Roadrunners all owned the best record in their respective divisions as of the pre-determined deadline: the end of play on Dec. 31.
The AHL’s All-Stars will be divided into four teams, one representing each of the league’s four divisions, for the 2018 AHL All-Star Challenge on Jan. 29. The teams will participate in a round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each, played entirely at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3.
The 2018 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 28 will pit the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions against those from the two Western Conference divisions in seven skills events.
Jay Leach will coach the Atlantic Division All-Star team after guiding Providence to the best record in the Eastern Conference over the first three months of the season (21-8-3-0, .703). Leach, 38, is in his first full season as an AHL head coach but will actually be making his second All-Star appearance; he represented Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2016 following Mike Sullivan’s promotion to Pittsburgh.
Sheldon Keefe will coach the North Division team as the Marlies own a record of 23-11-0-0 (.676), edging Rochester for first place by a tiebreaker (regulation/overtime wins). In his third campaign with the Marlies, the 37-year-old Keefe has a career mark of 119-65-2 behind the Toronto bench. He also guided the North Division All-Stars in 2016.
In his second season with Manitoba, Pascal Vincent has the Moose at the top of the AHL standings with a record of 24-6-1-2 (.773) and will guide the Central Division All-Stars. Vincent, 46, spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets before taking over the Moose in 2016.
Mike Van Ryn will lead the Pacific Division All-Star team thanks to a 16-9-2-1 record (.625) with Tucson. Van Ryn, 38, is in his first season as a head coach in the pro ranks; he was head coach in Kitchener (OHL) in 2015-16 before serving as the Arizona Coyotes’ development coach last season.
Playing rosters for the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino will be announced later this week.
Tickets for the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino are priced at $39, $49, $69, $89 and $99, and include admission to both the Skills Competition on Jan. 28 and the All-Star Challenge on Jan. 29. To purchase event tickets, visit the Adirondack Bank Center box office or go online to www.empirestatetix.com.
The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 93 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Jake Allen, Artem Anisimov, Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Braden Holtby, Tyler Johnson, Martin Jones, Chris Kunitz, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, 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 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.