Takeaways from the 2018 ECHL All-Star Classic

Woody Hudson races down the ice during the 2018 ECHL All-Star game. (Dalton Tinklenberg/Blue HQ Media)

It’s been three days since the 2018 ECHL All-Star Classic and this is what stuck with me as a hockey fan. The day started off with the Wayne Gretzky press conference. It was great hearing him reminisce about the short time he was in Indianapolis playing for the Racers. He only played eight games with the team scoring three goals and assisted on three goals. Part of his contract with the team had him living with a family in Carmel, Indiana. He attended night school at times at Broad Ripple High School. The family treated him as one of their own and giving him the feeling of security and family he needed living so far away from home. It was amazing to hear his stories, especially in person.

The second half of the press conference was with the celebrity coach retired Indy Car driver Scott Goodyear. He made clear he was no stranger to the knowledge of coaching hockey. He wanted to play growing up but was “too small” as he put it. He became a level three certified USA Hockey coach while coaching his 3 children in youth and travel leagues.

The fan fest the night before the game appeared to have a great turnout. The Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe, Vezina, Hart, and the Kelly Cup all were on display during the game and at the fan fest. It was a great event that didn’t disappoint. The three games and the skills competition were full of excitement. South Carolina Stingray Taylor Cammarata put on a clinic during the two games he played in. He scored five goals and two assists setting a new record for the most points in an All-Star Game. I didn’t know of him before but know now he is a player to watch in the future. He is a really good player and deservingly won the MVP trophy for the event. As Taylor said in the post-game press conference “the format of the game really suited his playing style.”

Indianapolis Indiana was on display for all of the hockey world to see live on the NHL Network. I think the Indy Fuel organization hosting the 2018 ECHL All-Star Classic presented by CCM did a great job on everything. The event was exciting and appeared to be a success. I think it was a good step in the process of bringing the popularity of hockey back to this city. With the struggle of the Indianapolis Colts this season hopefully the Indy Fuel have gained some fans.

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I keep reading that the host city for an ECHL All Star game sees a $1 million boost to the local economy (although the studies to back up this claim are never sighted). Here’s the question, what does it cost the host team — in this case the Indy Fuel– to host the event? I know they paid Gretzy $125,000 for his three and a half hour visit. Was the team on the hook for leasing the Pan Am facility for the Fan Fest? How about the ball room for the ECHL Hall of Fame event? What did it cost… Read more »