The Cincinnati Cyclones, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Buffalo Sabres and American Hockey League's (AHL) Rochester Americans, and in conjunction with the ECHL, have announced that rookie forward Justin Danforth will be the Cyclones representative at the upcoming 2018 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, competing for Team Central. The game is scheduled to take place on Monday, January 15, at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, IN; home of the ECHL's Indy Fuel.
"I'm honored to be chosen for the ECHL All-Star game and represent the Cyclones," remarked Danforth. "It's always nice to be recognized for something like this, and I am looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
A native of Oshawa, ON, Danforth currently leads all rookies and is third in overall ECHL scoring with 37 points (18g, 19a) along with a plus-18 on-ice rating in 31 games played. He enjoyed an 11-game point streak from November 18-December 13, accounting for seven goals and 10 assists in that span, including five multi-point outings.
"We are extremely happy to see Justin receive this honor of being named to the All-Star team this season," said Cyclones Head Coach Matt Macdonald. "Although this is only his first year, he has worked very hard and has shown he is an elite player in this league. It's great to see him get this opportunity to represent Cincinnati."
Danforth is in his full pro season, after skating in nine games between the ECHL's Reading Royals, and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League (AHL), late during the 2016-17 campaign. He accounted for three goals and two assists between the two teams in that time.
Prior to turning pro, Danforth had an outstanding career at Sacred Heart University where he amassed 124 points (42g, 82a) in 147 games. He also served as assistant captain during his senior season.
For the first time in ECHL history, the All-Star Classic will feature 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 immediately following the Skills Competition.
The 2018 rosters feature 27 first-time ECHL All-Star selections, including 12 rookies, and nine players who have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft. Overall, more than 65 players from the ECHL All-Star Game have gone on to play in the NHL, 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.
FULL CCM/ECHL ALL-STAR CLASSIC ROSTERS
North Division All-Stars
G - Etienne Marcoux, Indy Fuel
D - Matt Petgrave, Brampton Beast
F - Woody Hudson, Worcester Railers
F - Alex Krushelnyski, Reading Royals
F - Ty Loney, Adirondack Thunder
F - Joel Lowry, Manchester Monarchs
F - Cody Wydo, Wheeling Nailers
South Division All-Stars
G - Martin Ouellette, Florida Everblades
D - Christopher Dienes, Jacksonville Icemen
D - Nolan Valleau, Orlando Solar Bears
F - Grant Besse, Norfolk Admirals
F - Taylor Cammarata, South Carolina Stingrays
F - Caleb Herbert, Greenville Swamp Rabbits
F - Phil Lane, Atlanta Gladiators
Central Division All-Stars
G - Pat Nagle, Toledo Walleye
D - Kyle Bushee, Kalamazoo Wings
D - Willie Raskob, Quad City Mallards
F - Justin Danforth, Cincinnati Cyclones
F - Mike McMurtry, Kansas City Mavericks
F - Michael Neal, Indy Fuel
F - Artur Tyanulin, Fort Wayne Komets
Mountain Division All-Stars
G - Shane Starrett, Wichita Thunder
D - David Makowski, Allen Americans
D - Cliff Watson, Utah Grizzlies
F - Conner Bleakley, Tulsa Oilers
F - Michael Joly, Colorado Eagles
F - Justin Parizek, Idaho Steelheads
F - 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.