The Wichita Thunder and Intrust Bank Arena will host a hockey league all-star game in January 2020.
Ryan Crelin, commissioner of the ECHL hockey league, announced Friday afternoon that the 2020 ECHL All-Star Classic and Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in Wichita. The game will be Jan. 22, 2020, with a fan event the day before.
Ticket information will be announced at a later date.
“For the city of Wichita, this is an opportunity for you to showcase yourself to the leage,” Crelin said. “We will have fans traveling from around the continent, from other ECHL cities, to be a part of the event.”
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Joel Lomurno, general manager of the Wichita Thunder, said the team beat out the rival Allen Americans of Allen, Texas, to host the game. The Thunder was chosen on a 14-13 vote.
“It’s truly an honor to be the host team of this prestigious event,” Lomurno said.
“Not only do we have the opportunity to host the league’s most talented players right here on our home rink, we get to be a part of providing a unique opportunity for our community to witness a high level of skill on display live.”
The event is expected to generate over $1 million in economic impact for the city, said Brian Hargrove, executive director of sports development at Visit Wichita. The goal is to break the league’s attendance record for the event by having 10,000 attendees, he said.
David Dennis, chairman of the Sedgwick County Commission, encouraged area residents to attend the events.
“Make sure that everyone knows that we are great hosts to anything that happens here in Sedgwick County,” he said.
Friday’s announcement came a week after U.S. Figure Skating announced Wichita would host regional and sectional championships at Intrust Bank Arena, also in January 2020. That event is expected to bring in more than $3 million to the local economy.
“If we keep having these events, we’re going to have change their tag line: Come visit Wichita, where we put the ice in nice city to visit,” Mayor Jeff Longwell said of Visit Wichita.