Philadelphia hockey fans are most likely very familiar with Eastern Conference All-Star goalie and current Adirondack Phantom Michael Leighton, who helped the Philadelphia Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

He will be at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the AHL All-Star game, Mike Gill caught up with the former Flyers net-minder on the Sports Bash.

On Sunday, January 29 and Monday, January 30 the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic will take place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Pitting the top players from the AHL’s Eastern Conference against the best of the Western Conference, the Classic will begin with the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 29, at 3 p.m.; the AHL All-Star Game will follow on Monday, January 30, at 7 p.m.  In addition to the two main events, other fan friendly activities will be happening around town to celebrate this exciting event in Atlantic City. Several local organizations will also be involved in the festivities.

Mascot Alert!

As the days near to the AHL All-Star Classic, visitors and locals should be on the lookout for the invasion of AHL hockey mascots in Atlantic City. From beavers to bulls to multiple dog species, there will be something for everyone! During game intermission on Monday night, the mascots will take the ice on the newly renamed “Art Dorrington Ice Rink” at Boardwalk Hall. They will also be out and about around Atlantic City to cheer on their teams’ All-Star players. Who knows where they may pop up!

Local Connections

Local organizations will also be lending their talents to support the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic in Atlantic City. Two South Jersey based singing groups will be performing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “O Canada” on both days. On Sunday, January 29, the Skills Competition will kick off with a performance by the all-female vocal group, the Star Spangled Singers. This a capella ensemble is comprised of seven voices with a wide repertoire of different musical styles. The Star Spangled Singers have appeared at a variety of ceremonies and community and sporting events including Philadelphia Phillies baseball games. On Monday, January 30, Stockapella, the a capella singing group from Richard Stockton College, will be belting out both national anthems for game day. Stockapella was founded in 2006 and consists of fifteen student vocalists.  The group was just recently in the quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella held at Rutgers University.

A few of the players and coaches involved in the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic also have some of their own local ties.

Philadelphia hockey fans are most likely very familiar with Eastern Conference All-Star goalie and current Adirondack Phantom Michael Leighton, who helped the Philadelphia Flyers reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010. They may also remember current Hershey Bear and Eastern Conference All-Star captain Boyd Kane, who played for both the Phantoms and the Flyers from 2003-2005 and 2006-2009. Kane was the captain of the last Phantoms Calder Cup championship team in 2005. Western Conference All-Star goalie Matt Hackett is the nephew of Jeff Hackett who played for the NHL for 15 years, including a run with the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2003-2004 season. Additionally, former coach and player of the Philadelphia Flyers and Phantoms, John Stevens, will be honored and inducted into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame during AHL All-Star Weekend in Atlantic City.

No stranger to northern New Jersey, former assistant coach of the New Jersey Devils Kurt Kleinendors is one of the coaches for this year’s 2012 AHL All-Star Eastern Conference team. Kleinendorst is currently the head coach of the AHL’s defending Calder Cup champion Binghamton Senators. Local fans may also be interested in knowing that Eastern Conference All-Star Kyle Palmieri of the Syracuse Crunch attended Saint Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, NJ and calls Montvale, NJ home.

On Sunday, January 22, local hockey organizations will break in the ice at Boardwalk Hall in preparation of the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic. The Atlantic City Sharks and the Mount Laurel Jaguars from the Bantam Class of New Jersey’s Youth Hockey League will face off at 2:00 p.m. These teams, comprised of students ages 13-15, will be the first to play on the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic ice. With a group ticket buy to the All-Star Classic, other teams and organizations can participate in fan experience packages. To purchase, call (609) 348-7023.

Social Events

Caesars Atlantic City, a sponsor of the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic, will be hosting two social events during All-Star weekend.  On Sunday, January 29, the Post Skills Party will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Caesars Palladium Ballroom. This event will include a chance to meet and mingle with the players, grab an autograph or photo, enjoy complimentary beverages, interactive game stations, music, and more. On Monday, Caesars Atlantic City will present the 2012 AHL All-Star Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony in their Caesars Circus Maximus Theatre. The AHL Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions.


Ticket holders of the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic will also receive special incentives. Hockey fans who attend Sunday’s Skills Competition will have the opportunity to take part in an autograph session with the All-Star players. This will commence at 5 p.m., following the completion of the competition.  On Monday, The United Way of Atlantic County will be hosting the Chuck-A-Puck contest at Boardwalk Hall. During the game, fans will have the opportunity to stop by the United Way booth to purchase foam pucks which they will be able to “chuck” onto the ice for a chance to win a cash prize. A portion of the proceeds from this contest will benefit the United Way of Atlantic County.

Tickets for the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic as well as the two Caesars hosted events can be purchased at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations by calling 800-736-1420 or at  All-session tickets are priced at $52, $37, and $32. Single-session tickets are $12, $16, and $13 for Sunday’s Skills Competition and $31, $22, and $19 for Monday’s All-Star Game. Family four packs can also be purchased for only $79 and include four tickets, four hot dogs, and four soft drinks (must be purchased in advanced).  Ticket discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. For Group Sales call 609-348-7023. The 2012 edition is presented by the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, Caesars Atlantic City, and the AHL.