City of Buffalo to get a crack at its first AFHL All-Star Game
January 16th, 2012
The Buffalo Phantoms will host the 2012 AFHL All-Star Game, the League and team announced Monday. The mid-season showcase weekend will be Jan. 28 and 29.
“We know Buffalo can do a fantastic job of hosting hockey events,” AFHL Commissioner Tony Furino said. “We know their great venue and their city are more than well-equipped to handle this marquee event.”
Furino drew prolonged applause from the audience attending the special announcement Monday, as Phantoms GM/Coach Daryn Beckman and players Marian Hossa, Patrick Marleau, Sidney Crosby, and Joe Pavelski joined Furino as he made the announcement at the Hyatt Hotel in Buffalo, New York.
Furino credited not only a winning record for the Buffalo Phantoms being awarded the All-Star Game, but he also cited the GM’s participation which is backed by his passion and love for the league, as well as his tireless work since he started building the franchise back in 2009.
“Perhaps the most significant and most important reason as to why we’re all here today, not just for the All-Star announcement, but for Phantoms hockey in Buffalo, is Daryn Beckman,” Furino said. “He has been a vocal GM, with a stable, firm, guiding force of the Phantoms franchise since the AFHL began in 2009. He is a passionate, knowledgeable, involved GM. I believe the AFHL is fortunate to have him as one of our GMs and we are grateful for all he does.”
Of course, no one is perfect.
“Occasionally he calls me on officiating questions,” Furino joked about Beckman, “but we’re even grateful for that.”
“The Buffalo Phantoms and our hockey fans couldn’t be more excited at the opportunity to host and showcase the AFHL’s top players in 2012,” said Daryn Beckman. “We will create a once-in-a-lifetime, weekend long celebration of all that is great about hockey, the AFHL and our city.”
Furino wants the league’s signature game to be a message to all GMs that the league is doing everything it can to continue bringing the fun and excitement to the AFHL.
“It’s just another layer of activity that shows our GMs how much we care for them, that we go the extra mile, that we go the extra step in appreciation to bring such world class events in fantasy hockey,” Furino said. “What we’re trying to do, and I think we’re doing that successfully, is just continuing that message. And it’s not just talk. We get things done. I go back to the expansion of farm teams last summer and what that did for this league on such a large scale, it was just phenomenal. I think this upcoming All-Star Weekend is just another stepping stone in building that solid foundation for the AFHL going forward as the most amazing fantasy hockey league on the planet.”
“The fact is it all starts with the GMs and the fans, and the GMs and fans bring their passion to the league every day,” Furino said. “They’re involved, they’re excited, and we’re thrilled to provide this event for them.”
With the All-Star Weekend about two weeks away, the coaches for the American Conference and Canadian Conference All-Star teams have not yet been announced, but as with the previous All-Star Games, they are chosen based on which teams are on top of the overall league standings.
Aside from last year’s injury plagued season, the Phantoms have been one of the consistent winners in AFHL history. In 2009, they won the President’s trophy for best overall record in the league, and this year, they sport the second best record in the American Conference. The team has averaged close to 19,000 fans a night, and there’s a good chance they’ll have a hometown player to cheer for on January 29th.
Marian Hossa, who represented Buffalo in the 2009 AFHL All-Star Game, is expected to be one of the players nominated to play in this year’s game.
“I’d love to be part of it,” said Hossa. “I’m sure I’ll be part of it even if I’m not playing in the game.”
Additional details on the 2012 AFHL All-Star Celebration, including information on tickets, special events and television broadcasting will be released within the next week or so.
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