J.P. Hoornstra, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
For the front-office staff of the Ontario Reign, the employees of Citizens Business Bank Arena and, to a lesser extent, NHL scouts expected to attend the ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition on Tuesday and Wednesday, the two days of hockey will be a couple of potentially long days at the office.
For fans and participants, it's a midweek party that is expected to bring more than $1 million into the local economy. At least, that's the estimate of the ECHL based on the success of the past seven all-star games.
The Ontario Hilton already is sold out both nights, local businesses are lined up to join in the festivities and an exhaustive TV package has been secured, one that will beam the game into an estimated 66 million homes.
"It's really an opportunity for us to expose the building and the Reign, try to showcase what we're all about," said Justin Kemp, the team's executive vice president of business operations.
In addition to 42 players, four coaches and five trainers/equipment managers, the two-day event will bring ECHL owners, hockey scouts, broadcasters, officials, families, friends and fans to Citizens Business Bank Arena.
Executives needing to dress sharp can take advantage of a promotion with Hugo Boss Factory Stores at the Ontario Mills mall, which is offering 50 percent off suits from 2-4 p.m. both days. Dave Oldham, the Reign's executive VP of sales and marketing, said there will be a special trip for owners and executives to the San Manuel Casino on Tuesday.
"The community can make a million right there," Oldham said.
Fans seeking a casual experience can look forward to Tuesday night at Dave & Buster's at the mall, where they can meet the all-stars and view the Stanley Cup, the trophy given annually to the NHL champion.
"To have free rein of Dave & Buster's for an event on a Tuesday night, there are not a lot of other options that are open from 9 'til midnight," Oldham said.
A Wednesday luncheon to honor the newest ECHL Hall of Fame inductees sold out soon after Luc Robitaille was announced as guest speaker.
Robitaille, the Kings' president of business operations, played 14 seasons for the Kings and was inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame in November.
Kemp said thousands of tickets still are available for the game on Wednesday and Tuesday's skills competition.
The game will be seen across the country thanks to a TV package that includes Altitude Sports & Entertainment, B2 Television, Bright House Sports Network in Florida, Buckeye Cable Sports Network in Ohio, Comcast SportsNet in Northern California, Cox Sports in Rhode Island, GCI in Alaska, Metro Sports in Kansas City and New England Sports Network.
The game will air locally on Fox Sports Net, which reaches 5.8 million homes between San Diego, Bakersfield and Las Vegas. Kemp said he doesn't expect it to be a ratings blockbuster, but the air time still is valuable to the team long-term.
"I'm hoping by broadcasting us on TV with the all-star game, it can potentially lead to future Reign games being on TV," Kemp said.
XM Satellite Radio will broadcast the game for the fifth consecutive year. Five ECHL markets also will air the game on local radio.