By SHEL SEGAL
In just their second year of existence, the Ontario Reign will have the honor this season of hosting the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20 at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
“We’re really excited,” Reign General Manager Justin Kemp said. “It’s a huge honor for us to host something like this. It’s a tribute not only to the job the staff has done the past season, but also the community support. It’s been phenomenal.”
With a capacity of 9,600 for hockey and being in a major metropolitan area — not to mention near several freeways and a major airport — the selection of CBBA seems like a no-brainer for the league, especially when some of the cities — say Bakersfield - are out of the way with limited accommodations and no major airport nearby.
And the game should help to promote the Reign and hockey in the IE, something many naysayers (I was not one of them) said would never take hold in the area.
“There’s a tremendous opportunity here and it helps us to grow awareness about our team,” Kemp said. “So, all and all, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
And that includes the local economy, Kemp said.
“The last few All-Star games have brought in an excess of $1 million in economic impact, so for an area like this that has been hit hard by the economy, this is a big thing,” Kemp said.
So, how are the Reign looking on the ice so far? Coach Karl Taylor said he doesn’t know yet, but feels the team is ahead of where it was last year at this time in its inaugural season.
“We’re all looking pretty good,” he said. “We’re very happy with our signings. You never know at this level where you’re going to be come April and playoffs. But we’re very happy with where we’re at right now.”
Things can be tough all over, and then again, sweet as can-be.
The California League has announced its 2009 Postseason All-Star Team, and former Quakes’ starting pitcher Alexander Torres is Rancho Cucamonga’s lone representative.
Torres, who was promoted to Double-A Arkansas in the end of July, continues to be the league leader in ERA with an impressive 2.74 mark. Torres pitched in 21 games for the Quakes, while starting 19. He owned a 10-3 record with 124 strikeouts in 121.1 innings pitched.
Torres, who also represented the California League in the midseason California League-Carolina League All-Star Game in Lake Elsinore, has since been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
Two San Bernardino Valley College baseball players are moving on. Sophomore outfielder and right-handed pitcher Dwight Robinson has signed a letter of intent with a NCAA Division I school, Coppin State University, while teammate sophomore catcher Gary Capolino has signed a letter of intent with an NAIA school, Judson University.
Robinson finished the 2009 baseball season with a .370 batting average, 16 RBI, a .506 slugging percentage and a .967 fielding percentage. Capolino ended the 2009 baseball season with a .242 batting average.
(Shel Segal is a freelance writer based in Arcadia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)