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The AHL All-Star Classic will feature plenty of familiar faces for Ontario Reign fans.
Vincent LoVerde, Peter Budaj and Michael Mersch have been named to the Pacific Division AHL All-Stars to compete in the 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Classic in Syracuse, New York on January 31 and February 1.
Thr trio join Reign head coach Mike Stothers for the midseason showcase, who was named the Head Coach of the Pacific Division AHL All-Stars earlier this week.
LoVerde leads Reign defensemen with 14 points (3-11=14) in 29 games this season.
“It’s an honor,” LoVerde told Reign Insider. “I’ve played in this league for a few years now and it’s an honor. Obviously my teammates and coaching staff and everyone’s been integral in this process and we’ve had a great year as a team and look forward to it continuing.”
Budaj leads the AHL with a 1.69 goals-against average, 17 wins and 1565:32 minutes played. He is also tied for first with four shutouts and stands fourth with a .930 save percentage.
“Definitely it’s a great honor for me to represent my team, organization and my family too,” Budaj said. “I’m very proud, very thankful. I’m glad I’ve been playing well but also it’s a reflection of our team. The team in front of me is playing really good. When you look at the standings that’s why we are on top. We’re playing well, everybody.
Mersch, who is currently with the Kings, leads the team with 12 goals and tied for first on the Reign with four power-play tallies in 19 games.
Each of the AHL’s four divisions will be represented by 13 players: seven forwards, four defensemen and two goaltenders. Rosters were determined by committees of AHL coaches, and all 30 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.
The 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Jan. 31 (8 p.m. ET) 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.
The 2016 Toyota AHL All-Star Challenge will take place on the evening of Feb. 1 (7 p.m. ET); instead of a traditional 60-minute game, the AHL’s All-Stars will be divided into four teams, one representing each of the league’s divisions (Atlantic, North, Central, Pacific).
The teams will then 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.