With a little over two months until the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic at the Adirondack Bank Center, let us take a look back on the history of the event.
The American Hockey League first held an All-Star Game during the 1941–42 season in Cleveland, Ohio. The game featured a standard East vs. West matchup. The East defeated the West that season, 5-4.
The event was not played again until the 1954–55 season. The All-Star Game was then held annually from 1954-55 until the 1959–60 season. During that time frame, the game pitted the previous seasons’ Calder Cup Champion against an AHL All-Star team. The defending champs and all-star teams each won three games apiece throughout those six seasons.
In the 1994–95 season, the AHL revived the events again, and has been played every season since. The skills competition was first introduced for the 1995–96 season. From 1996 to 2010, teams consisted of selected all-stars from Canada against the selected all stars from the USA and the rest of the world.
The game would primarily be hosted by cities on the Eastern portion of North America, with the exception of 2004 and 2009, where it was hosted in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Winnipeg, Manitoba, respectively. During the Canada vs. World phase, Team Canada won 10 of the 16 contests.
The league reverted back to the East-West challenge in 2011, and would remain that way until the 2015-16 season, except for the 2014 game. 2014 saw an AHL All-Star contingent face off with and defeat Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League. The West dominated the event, winning three of the four matchups.
The All-Star Game was replaced by an All-Star Challenge between the league's divisions from the 2015-16 season onward. The challenge consists of six round-robin games played three-on-three between the league's divisions; the top two divisions in the challenge's round-robin advance to a six-minute championship game. The winning division of the championship game is declared the winner of the all-star challenge. The Central Division has claimed victory the past two seasons under this format.
The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort and Casino takes place January 28 and 29, 2018 at the Adirondack Bank Center. 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 January 28 and the All-Star Challenge on January 29. Tickets can be purchased online at empirestatetix.com or by calling the Comets box office at (315) 790-9070.