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Sault Ste Marie Celebrates the Opening of New Arena with an All-Star Announcement

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - The Ontario Hockey League today announced that the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds will host the 2008 OHL All-Star Classic.

The announcement was made earlier this evening to the hockey fans of Sault Ste. Marie during pre-game festivities prior to the start of the first ever hockey game to be played in the brand new Steelback Centre.

“The Ontario Hockey League is elated to take this opportunity to award the Greyhounds, their loyal fans and the City of Sault Ste. Marie with this special event,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “The community has passionately supported the Greyhounds and the Ontario Hockey League since the team’s arrival in 1972. We look forward to working with the Greyhounds to showcase such a marquee event and this outstanding new facility”.

“The Soo Greyhounds are extremely pleased to be chosen to host the 2008 OHL All Star Game," said Dr. Lou Lukenda, Chairman and President. "What a great way to usher in a new era of Major Junior hockey in Sault Ste. Marie by hosting the league’s brightest stars in our own new shining star, the Steelback Centre. This is a real tribute to our City and our fans.”

40 of the league’s brightest stars will face-off in an Eastern Conference versus Western Conference showdown format.

The OHL All-Star Game was first played in 1977 in Sudbury when the Emms Division defeated the Leyden Division 6-5 in overtime. The Emms vs. Leyden format continued for nine seasons through 1985 following which the game was replaced by the OHL/QMJHL All-Star Challenge Series. The East-West format was re-introduced for the 2004 OHL All-Star Classic in Peterborough in 2004 and the Belleville Bulls hosted the most recent game this past February. The Saginaw Spirit will host the 2007 OHL All-Star Classic next January 31st.

The OHL All-Star Game has featured many of the league’s most famous graduates, including Wayne Gretzky, Paul Coffey and Steve Yzerman as well as current NHL’ers, Eric Staal, Jeff Carter, Eric Lindros, and Joe Thornton.

The awarding of the OHL All-Star Classic to Sault Ste. Marie was the icing on the cake for the Greyhounds on a night where they played their first game in their new home the 5,000 seat state of the art Steelback Centre. It is a world class venue that the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie are extremely excited about and the Greyhounds will be proud to call home for years to come.

The Steelback Centre, built at a cost of $25 million, features two levels of seating, including one main level and one premium seating level. The premium seating includes 13 luxury suites with room for expansion. The building has a seating capacity of 6,500 for concerts.
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