Cincinnati’s Thomas, Florida’s Ralph named coaches 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic
PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Tuesday announced the coaches for the 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, to be hosted by the Toledo Walleye on Monday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. ET at the Huntington Center. The game will air LIVE exclusively on NHL Network. For the second consecutive year, the CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic will feature a 3-on-3 tournament with four teams competing for the top spot. New in 2019, the host team will make up two of the four teams and face-off against the other two teams made up of All-Star players from the Eastern and Western Conference. These four teams will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament with rally scoring in order to crown a winner. The 2019 CCM/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place in between rounds of the tournament, highlighting the talents of the ECHL Players, and showcasing the future of hockey as they develop in the League. Cincinnati’s Matt Thomas will serve as head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars by virtue of the Cyclones having the top winning percentage in the conference through games of Dec. 22, 2018. The Cyclones are 23-7-4 and lead the Central Division with 50 points, while owning the league’s top winning percentage at .735. Thomas is coaching in the All-Star Game for the third time, after previously earning the honor in 2005 with Atlantic City and 2009 with Stockton, which is tied for the most in ECHL history, joining Chris Cichocki, Glen Gulutzan, Davis Payne and Jeff Pyle. Thomas is in his 10th season as an ECHL coach, and has an all-time record of 365-232-84. He ranks seventh all-time in regular-season wins while he holds the ECHL record for most postseason games coached with 97 and sits tied for third all-time with 49 postseason wins. Florida’s Brad Ralph is the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars as a result of the Everblades owning the top winning percentage in the conference through games of Dec. 22, 2018. The Everblades are 23-7-5 for a league-best 51 points, and have gone 18-2-3 in their 23 games. Last season, Ralph received the John Brophy Award as the ECHL Coach of the Year, while leading Florida to the Brabham Cup for the best record during the regular season and a berth in the Kelly Cup Finals. Ralph is 254-105-36 in his six seasons as an ECHL coach and ranks fifth all-time in league history with a .689 winning percentage. It is the third straight year that Ralph has earned the right to coach in the All-Star Game, although he missed last season’s games due to the Everblades having a regular-season game on the day of the event. Toledo Walleye head coach Dan Watson and assistant coach Andy Delmore are the coaches for Team Hooks while Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame members Rick Judson and Jim McCabe will serve as coaches for Team Fins. Watson previously served as a coach for the 2017 ECHL All-Star Game in Adirondack. The 12th class of the ECHL Hall of Fame will be officially inducted at a luncheon, presented by BFL CANADA and Sutton Special Risk, on Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m. at the SeaGate Center, in conjunction with the Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame, presented by Cooper Tire. All-Star Weekend, presented by ProMedica is anchored by the CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, there will be multiple activities that showcase the Toledo community including the All-Star Fanfest in Hensville Park and All-Star Winter Brewfest at Fifth Third Field. The Hall of Fame luncheon will be followed by a regular-season matchup between the Walleye and the Fort Wayne Komets at the Huntington Center. CCM/ECHL All-Star packages and individual tickets can be purchased by calling 419-725-9255 or by visiting www.toledowalleye.com/allstar.
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