ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears are proud to announce that defenseman Nolan Valleau will represent the organization at the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, which will be hosted by the Indy Fuel later this month on Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. The game will air LIVE exclusively on NHL Network.
Valleau, 25, is in his third season of professional hockey and his first with the Solar Bears – the selection to the All-Star Classic is a career-first for him. The 6-foot-1, 177-pound blueliner is enjoying a breakout year with Orlando, setting career-highs in goals (8), assists (18) and points (26) in 30 games. Valleau ranks among the league leaders in virtually every major offensive category for defensemen – his eight goals and 26 points are tied for third, while he is tied for first with six power-play goals and leads all ECHL defensemen with 15 points on the man advantage.
For the first time in ECHL history, the All-Star Classic will feature not two, but four teams, representing each of the League’s divisions. In a format similar to those adapted by the NHL and AHL All-Star Games, the four teams will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament in order to crown a winner. The two semifinal matches will be played within the Eastern and Western Conferences; with the East Division taking on the South Division and the Central Division facing the Mountain Division. The 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place after the second semifinal game, with the championship round following immediately at the conclusion of the Skills Competition.
The 2018 rosters feature 27 first-time ECHL All-Star selections, 12 rookies and nine players who have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
More than 65 players from the ECHL All-Star Game have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including 51 since 2002 when the lineups began having players who coaches felt were prospects to move up to a higher level.
The rosters were determined in a vote of coaches, team captains, media relations directors, broadcasters and members of the media. Each of the ECHL teams is represented by a player in the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic.
North Division All-StarsG – Etienne Marcoux, Indy FuelD – Matt Petgrave, Brampton BeastF – Woody Hudson, Worcester RailersF – Alex Krushelnyski, Reading RoyalsF – Ty Loney, Adirondack ThunderF – Joel Lowry, Manchester MonarchsF – Cody Wydo, Wheeling Nailers
South Division All-StarsG – Martin Ouellette, Florida EverbladesD – Christopher Dienes, Jacksonville IcemenD – Nolan Valleau, Orlando Solar BearsF – Grant Besse, Norfolk AdmiralsF – Taylor Cammarata, South Carolina StingraysF – Caleb Herbert, Greenville Swamp RabbitsF – Phil Lane, Atlanta Gladiators
Central Division All-StarsG – Pat Nagle, Toledo WalleyeD – Kyle Bushee, Kalamazoo WingsD – Willie Raskob, Quad City MallardsF – Justin Danforth, Cincinnati CyclonesF – Mike McMurtry, Kansas City MavericksF – Michael Neal, Indy FuelF – Artur Tyanulin, Fort Wayne Komets
Mountain Division All-StarsG – Shane Starrett, Wichita ThunderD – David Makowski, Allen AmericansD – Cliff Watson, Utah GrizzliesF – Conner Bleakley, Tulsa OilersF – Michael Joly, Colorado EaglesF – Justin Parizek, Idaho SteelheadsF – Dante Salituro, Rapid City Rush
The 11th class will be inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame on Monday, Jan. 15 during a formal dinner, presented by BFL CANADA and Sutton Special Risk, featuring Induction Ceremonies, players from the ECHL All-Star Teams, and several of the NHL and ECHL’s most prestigious trophies.
The 2018 ECHL All-Star Fan Fest, presented by Central Indiana Honda Dealers, will kick off the All-Star festivities Sunday, Jan. 14 from 2-8 p.m. at The Pavilion at Pan Am. Fans in attendance can enjoy a wide array of entertainment options throughout the day in anticipation for the 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic. The Hockey Hall of Fame will be on hand with a variety of interactive activities and exhibits, including displays of ECHL and NHL trophies and memorabilia. Fans can enjoy a live performance from Indianapolis’ own Hunter Smith Band, while having the chance to get autographs from Indy Fuel players, ECHL All-Stars and league mascots.
About the ECHL:
Began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states, the ECHL has grown into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams in 21 states and one Canadian province for its 30th season in 2017-18. There have been 633 players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League after starting their careers in the ECHL, including 10 who have made their NHL debuts in the 2017-18 season. The ECHL has affiliations with 26 of the 31 NHL teams in 2017-18, marking the 21st consecutive season that the league has affiliations with at least 20 teams in the NHL. Further information on the ECHL is available on its website at ECHL.com.
About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are in their sixth season of operation in the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America, and are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
The Solar Bears battle the Jacksonville Icemen to begin a three-game set against their in-state rival on Friday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Arena. Friday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN 580 Orlando. Orlando is back at home on Sunday, Jan. 7 when they host the Jacksonville Icemen at 1:30 p.m. Single-game tickets for the 2017-18 season are now on sale at the Amway Center box office and ticketmaster.com.
Fighting Four Packs, presented by CenturyLink, are now available for purchase! Pick four games and get gift certificates to Sonny’s BBQ, Dick’s Sporting Goods, QDOBA Mexican Eats and a FREE center ice ticket to our Hockey Fights Cancer Night game presented by XYMOPrint on Saturday, Feb. 17! Packs start as low as $64 and include $68 in FREE gifts! Click here or call (407) 951-8200 for more information.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.