ALLEN, TX – It is All-Star game day for the ECHL but it is just another day of practice for the Allen Americans who will take their All-Star break next month. After a day off yesterday, the Americans will begin preparation for three games in three in days this weekend against the Wichita Thunder. The teams play in Allen on Friday and Saturday and then head to Wichita for a game Sunday afternoon.

– It is possible that Dyson Stevenson and Riley Gill will be skating today and if all goes well could be back in the lineup by the weekend. I will have an update tomorrow.

– It was announced yesterday that Alexis Loiseau, who leads the Thunder in scoring and was selected to the ECHL All-Star team, has left Wichita and signed to play in Germany. If you recall, when Vincent Arseneau signed in Wichita this season rather than returning to Allen he said it was because he wanted to play with Loiseau as they are good friends who grew up together.

ALL-STAR CLASSIC

– There hasn’t been a lot of publicity surrounding the ECHL All-Star game which takes place tonight (7:00 PM CST). For the first time, the game will be carried live on the NHL Network.  If you are not a hockey purist and don’t mind the gimmickry of the game, tuning in tonight should be entertaining and an opportunity to become familiar with some of the best players in the ECHL. Chad Costello and trainer Jaime Garcia are representing Allen.

– The game will be played in a non-traditional format and could best be described as an exhibition rather than a game. The format will be the host team (Adirondack) taking on the All-Stars selected from the other ECHL teams. There are some unique rules.

-The first portion of the event will be a 25-minute half, played entirely as 5-on-5 hockey between the All-Stars and the Thunder. Following the completion of the first half of play, the scores will carry over into the Skills Competition, which will be played during the intermission.

– The Skills Competition will feature three events: Fastest Skater, Hardest Shot, and Skills Relay. Each Skills Competition event will feature competitors from both the All-Stars and the Thunder and the winning team in each event will receive one goal (point) towards their overall score, with a total of three goals (points) available from the Skills Competition.

– The second half will again feature a 25-minute stanza but will incorporate some of the new situations typically featured during ECHL overtime. The half will begin with 10 minutes of 5-on-5 play but the first whistle after the 15-minute mark will see the teams switch to 4-on-4. At the first whistle following the 10-minute mark, the teams will switch again, this time to a 3-on-3 format, which will be carried out through the remainder of the game. At the end of the second half, the team with the most goals (points) from the first half, skills competition and second half combined will be the winner of the 2017 All-Star Classic. In the event that the score is tied, a sudden death, five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime period will be played to determine the winner. If the event is still tied, a three-player shootout will determine the winner.

OTHER COMMENTS

– Congratulations to Darryl and Sarah Bootland who welcomed their new daughter, Loxley Belle, into the world yesterday. Loxley joins sister Havyn, who was born when the Bootland’s played in Allen, and older brother Trace to make up the Bootland clan. One of the first in-depth player profiles I ever wrote was about Darryl “Booter” Bootland. If you have never read it here is the link. Booter talks about how he and Sarah (a Texan) met, how his toughness started at an early age and how he came to Allen in pursuit of his first professional championship. Bootland was part of two championships with the Americans in addition to being the most popular player. Here is the link: https://allenamericansblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/darryl-bootland-player-profile.html

DID YOU KNOW: I saw this on social media and thought it was interesting. Professional hockey’s current active career penalty minute leader is Darryl “Booter” Bootland at 3100 and counting. I looked his totals up on eliteprospects.com and he now has 3199 penalty minutes. According to the website dropyourgloves.com, Booter has had 267 hockey fights going all the way back to 1998-1999 when he played junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League.