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Lehigh Valley Phantoms chosen to host 2017 AHL All-Star game

Allentown's PPL Center will host the AHL's mid-season All Star events in just its third season of existence.

Pat Jacoby Photography

This news will certainly be buried a bit in the minds of Flyers fans, as it comes just a half-hour before the team faces what appears to be a win-and-in game against their biggest rival, but still, some fun news for the franchise's AHL squad:

Tony Androckitis of The Home News reported a while ago that the franchise was in the running for the game in question, and it's not surprising to hear that they were the AHL's choice to host the event. Allentown's PPL Center is a beautiful new building that will be in its third season next year, and it's a good location thanks to its relative proximity to Philadelphia as well as a good number of AHL teams.

All-Star Weekend will be held on January 28-30, with the game itself taking place on the 30th (a Monday night). It's a great opportunity for the Phantoms -- who, with several exciting prospects from the 2014 draft coming in, should hopefully be a much-improved team next year -- to host the league's marquee event. It'll be exciting to see who represents the Phantoms at the event.

Here's the full press release from the AHL:

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have been selected to host the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic weekend will include a Phan Fest & Tailgate Party on Saturday, January 28, followed by the AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 29, and the AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony and the 2017 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 30.

"We are proud of the success of the Phantoms in quickly building one of the strongest and most vibrant fan bases in the AHL," said Andrews. "The beautiful PPL Center and surrounding amenities will provide a fantastic home for the AHL All-Star Classic, and we look forward to showcasing our best players, our rich history and the Lehigh Valley to fans from around the league and an international television audience next January."

"Being selected to host the AHL All-Star Classic is a huge honor and we are excited for the positive impact it will have on our community," said Lehigh Valley Phantoms co-owner/governor Jim Brooks. "We look forward to spotlighting the Lehigh Valley and showcasing the premier talent of the AHL on an international stage."

"We would like to thank our fans, supporters and talented staff for creating a fun and energetic atmosphere within the PPL Center that has been noticed by the American Hockey League," added Phantoms co-owner/governor Rob Brooks.

The American Hockey League will host a media availability session with David Andrews, Jim Brooks and Rob Brooks this evening at 6 p.m., on the John Walson, Jr. Press Level at PPL Center, and the event logo for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic will be unveiled prior to the Phantoms' home game tonight against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Tickets for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic weekend are on sale now. Tickets start at $67 and include admission to Saturday's Phan Fest & Tailgate Party, Sunday's All-Star Skills Competition and Monday's All-Star Game. To purchase tickets to the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic, visit www.phantomshockey.com or www.pplcenter.com.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 93 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Jiri Hudler, Tyler Johnson, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Miller, Gustav Nyquist, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Martin St. Louis, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, P.K. Subban and Mats Zuccarello.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 15th year in a row, more than 6 million fans have attended AHL games across North America in 2015-16.