Surely putting out the call to “Dunph,” “Drugs,” “Mousey,” Bunny Cote and other hockey-crazed New Englanders of all ages, the American Hockey League selected Providence, Rhode Island, as the host for the 2013 All-Star Classic on Wednesday.
“The American Hockey League is excited to be returning to one of its founding cities for the 2013 All-Star Classic,” said AHL president and CEO David Andrews. “Providence has been part of the fabric of our league since our first season in 1936, and the Providence Bruins organization has been a cornerstone for the last two decades. We’re looking forward to showcasing our brightest stars to capacity crowds to an international television audience.”
The festivities are scheduled to take place Sunday, January 27 and Monday, January 28 at the former Providence Civic Center.
It is a decision about as proper as the league could get to distance itself from the choice of hosting last week’s All-Star festivities in Atlantic City, which had zero previous AHL history save for an aborted attempt to rescue the ECHL’s Hampton Roads Admirals (before losing them to Norfolk) in 2000. Next season, there will be a hockey-immersed destination with a downtown core for Phantoms fans to spend their hard-earned cash on, rather than trudging along an empty expanse of boardwalk in the middle of Winter to a two-thirds full arena that mostly doubles as a tarted-up mausoleum.
Providence has hosted the Boston Bruins’ affiliate since it relocated from Portland, Maine before the 1992-93 season. Prior to that, Rhode Island’s capital was home to one of the original franchises, the Providence Reds, who existed in an unbroken chain from 1936 until 1977.
The city has hosted two previous All-Star Games, in 1956 and the very first modern mid-season celebration in 1995.