09:59 AM

Nelson Named Atlantic Division Coach at AHL All-Star Classic

Bears bench boss leads Hershey to AHL's best record as of Jan. 1, earns third AHL All-Star Classic coaching honor

The American Hockey League announced Monday that Hershey Bears head coach Todd Nelson has clinched the honor of coaching the Atlantic Division at the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Bell in collaboration with Manulife Bank, to be held February 5-6 in Laval, Quebec. 

The Bears own the best record in the Atlantic Division at the predetermined deadline, the end of play today, January 1, earning Nelson his third nod behind the bench as an All-Star Classic coach (2012, 2017). 

Nelson, 53, has guided Hershey to an AHL-best 22-7-2-1 record through the first 32 games of the season, good for 47 points and a .734 points percentage. Nelson's Bears became the second-fastest club in franchise history to win 20 games, earning the honor in 29 contests, surpassed only by the 2020-21 Bears in a pandemic-shortened season that saw Hershey hit the 20-win plateau in its 28th contest. 

The Bears are a stingy defensive team under Nelson's watch, ranking first in the league in both goals against (2.34) and shots against (25.72). On offense, Hershey has scored the game's first goal 21 times under Nelson, the most of any AHL club. The Chocolate and White are also an excellent 13-2-2-1 in one-goal games, and own the AHL's best home record at 13-3-1-1.

Nelson is one of three people ever to win the Calder Cup as a player, as an assistant coach, and as a head coach. He is the first Bears head coach to earn an All-Star Classic nod since Mark French in 2011. Joining Nelson as All-Star Classic coaches will be Greg Moore of the Toronto Marlies (North Division), Neil Graham of the Texas Stars (Central Division), and Mitch Love of the Calgary Wranglers (Pacific Division).

The AHL’s All-Stars will be divided into four teams, one representing each of the league’s four divisions, for the 2023 Mise-o-jeu AHL All-Star Challenge on Monday, Feb. 6. The teams will participate in a round-robin 3-on-3 tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3.

The 2023 Rona AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Feb. 5, will pit the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions against those from the two Western Conference divisions in seven skills events. 

Tickets for the 2023 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Bell in collaboration with Manulife Bank, which include admission to both the Skills Competition and the Challenge, start at only $39 and are available now by visiting rocketlaval.com.

Hershey continues the 2022-23 season, presented by Penn State Health, when the Chocolate and White welcome the Charlotte Checkers to GIANT Center for Toyota Trucker Hat Night (featuring a Toyota Trucker Hat giveaway for the first 5,000 fans in attendance) on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets for the game by CLICKING HERE.