Wichita, KS (Dec. 7th) - In a press conference today, Visit Wichita, the Wichita Thunder and the ECHL, Premier ‘AA' Hockey League, announced the selection of Wichita as the host city for the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic.
The game will take place on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at INTRUST Bank Arena, and will also include the official induction ceremony of the 13th class of the ECHL Hall of Fame. The Thunder will also host the ECHL All-Star Game Fanfest on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Ticket information and availability, along with sponsorship opportunities, will be announced at a later date.
“We are very excited to bring the ECHL's signature event to Wichita and the Thunder fans,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin. “This showcase is more than just an opportunity to highlight our Players, but also recognize the history of hockey and our League, and celebrate the Thunder's impact on the community of Wichita.”
The annual Midseason showcase is attended by representatives from the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League and since its inception, has produced 67 players who have gone on to play in the NHL, including 51 since 2002 when the format was changed to feature younger prospects.
The 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic will be the first time for Wichita to host this annual all-star game, which traditionally generates over $1 million in economic impact as guests, players, coaches and fans occupy hotel rooms and spend three days in the host city.
“Wichita is a tremendous sports city capable of hosting sporting events of all magnitudes, including hockey” said Brian Hargrove, executive director of sports development at Visit Wichita. “We are looking forward to showcasing the award-winning INTRUST Bank Arena, as well as the city's many amenities and well-known hospitality.”
General Manager of the Wichita Thunder Joel T. Lomurno says he is proud to bring this action-packed event to Wichita. "We are honored to be the host of the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic. There are many talented players in the ECHL, and it's exciting to not only host such talent on our home rink, but to also provide such a unique opportunity for our community to witness this level of skill firsthand.”
About ECHLBegan in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 20 states and two Canadian provinces for its 31st season in 2018-19. There have been 646 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including four who have made their NHL debuts in the 2018-19 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the 31 NHL teams in 2018-19, marking the 22nd consecutive season that the league had affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available at ECHL.com.
About Visit WichitaVisit Wichita markets the greater Wichita area as a major convention and tourism destination, thereby enhancing the economic development of the city, county, region and state. Visit Wichita is led by president and CEO Susie Santo, and in 2017 travel and tourism contributed more than $1.1 billion in economic impact to the greater Wichita area.
About Wichita ThunderWichita Thunder is a minor-league ECHL team that has been playing at INTRUST Bank Arena since 2010. When the Blue Line was founded in 1992, they were one of the original six Central Hockey League teams and went on to win CHL Titles in both 1994 and 1995. The Thunder joined the ECHL in 2014 and has served as the National Hockey League (NHL) affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers since 2017. Former Thunder player Scott Darling won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 and currently plays for the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes. The Wichita Thunder hockey season runs from October through April at INTRUST Bank Arena.