PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL on Tuesday announced the coaches for the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Toyota, to be hosted by the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. CT at INTRUST Bank Arena. The game will air LIVE exclusively on NHL Network.
Following the format established last season, the Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Toyota will feature a 3-on-3 tournament with four teams competing for the top spot. The host Wichita Thunder 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 2020 Kansas Star Casino/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place in between rounds of the tournament, with results counting towards the cumulative score.
South Carolina's Steve Bergin is the head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars as a result of the Stingrays owning the top winning percentage in the conference through games of Dec. 22, 2019. The Stingrays boast the ECHL's best winning percentage with a mark of 24-4-4 for 52 points.
Bergin was named the ninth head coach in Stingrays' history on April 26, 2019 after serving as the team's assistant coach for the previous three seasons. Before starting his coaching career, Bergin spent five seasons as a defenseman with the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the Southern Professional Hockey League from 2011-16, capturing SPHL titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Prior to turning pro, Bergin played four seasons at the University of Connecticut and was a product of Lawrence Academy as well as the Boston Jr. Bruins.
Allen's Steve Martinson will serve as head coach of the Western Conference All-Stars by virtue of the Americans having the top winning percentage in the conference through games of Dec. 22, 2019. Allen leads the Mountain Division with a 24-7-6 record for 54 points.
Martinson is coaching in his second ECHL All-Star Classic, after previously earning the honor in 2015. Martinson is in his 11th season as an ECHL coach, and has an all-time record of 422-247-88. He ranks sixth all-time in league history with 757 regular-season games coached while ranking fifth in wins. In the postseason, he led Allen to Kelly Cup titles in 2015 and 2016 and ranks fourth in ECHL postseason history with 49 playoff wins.
Wichita Thunder head coach Bruce Ramsay and assistant coach John Gurskis will coach the team captained by Stefan Fournier while Kevin Lowe of the Edmonton Oilers and Tom Roulston will coach the team captained by Riley Weselowski.
Ramsay is in his first season with the Thunder after spending three seasons as an assistant coach with the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins. Before that, he was the bench boss of the Tulsa Oilers from 2009-15, where he compiled a 185-180-35 record and led the Oilers to the playoffs in each of his last two seasons in Tulsa - which coincided with Oilers' final season in the Central Hockey League and their first season in the ECHL.
Gurskis, who is in his first season with Wichita, was a teammate of Ramsay, during the 2000-01 season. He served as a Player/Assistant Coach during four separate seasons with Macon, St. Pete-Winston Salem and the Florida Seals. He has been involved with the South Shore Kings in several different roles since 2008-09. Prior to retiring, Gurskis turned pro in 1998 with the ECHL's Columbus Chill and had a successful career at the minor league level. He had his best season in 2001-02 with Wichita, recording 64 points (28g, 36a) in 69 games.
Lowe, who will serve as the Keynote Speaker for the ECHL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, has held many positions within the Oilers organization, from player to front office. He was the team's first-ever draft pick when he was selected 21st overall in the 1979 NHL Amateur Draft. During his 19 seasons in the NHL, including 15 with the Oilers, Lowe played in 1,254 regular-season games and 214 playoff games. He won six Stanley Cup championships, five of which came with Edmonton and one with the New York Rangers.
Roulston is a former teammate of Lowe's. Selected by the St. Louis Blues in the third round (45th overall) in the 1977 NHL Entry Draft, he played for the Wichita Wind in 1980-81 compiling 107 points (63g-44a) in 69 games while adding two points (1g-1a) in 11 NHL games with Edmonton that season. Roulston finished with 195 games in the NHL, tallying 96 points (47g-49a) for the Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins. In 1994-95, he came out of retirement and helped the Thunder to the Central Hockey League title, registering 30 points (11g-19a) in 23 games.
The 13th class of the ECHL Hall of Fame will be officially inducted at a banquet, presented by BFL CANADA and Sutton Special Risk, on Tuesday, January 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview, the Official Host Hotel of the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Toyota.
For more information on the 2020 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic presented by Toyota and to purchase tickets, please click here.
About the ECHL
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 26 teams in 19 states and two Canadian provinces for its 32nd season in 2019-20. There have been 668 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including six who have made their NHL debuts in the 2019-20 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2019-20, marking the 23rd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com.