The American Hockey League announced today that the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Toronto Marlies, Milwaukee Admirals and Ontario Reign have clinched the right to be represented by their coaches at the 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Classic, to be held Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in Syracuse, N.Y.
The Penguins, Marlies, Admirals and Reign all owned the best record in their respective divisions as of the pre-determined deadline – the end of play on Dec. 31.
The reigning winner of the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s coach of the year, Mike Stothers has led Ontario to a 17-6-2-1 mark (.712) after winning the Calder Cup championship with Manchester last season.
The 53-year-old Stothers will lead the Pacific Division All-Star team in his second consecutive All-Star coaching appearance and fourth overall; he was an assistant coach at the 1998 and 1999 events.
This year’s All-Stars will be divided into four teams, one representing each of the league’s four divisions, for the 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Challenge on the evening of Feb. 1. Instead of a traditional 60-minute game, the teams will play a round-robin tournament featuring six games of nine minutes each; the first half of each game will be played at 4-on-4, and the second half at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin tournament will face off for the championship, a six-minute game played at 3-on-3.
The 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 31 will keep its traditional format, with All-Stars from the Eastern Conference squaring off against All-Stars from the Western Conference in seven skills events.
Playing rosters will be announced in the coming week.