Eric Wellwood Named ECHL All-Star Coach
PRINCETON, N.J. - The ECHL today announced that Eric Wellwood of the Newfoundland Growlers and Dan Watson of the Toledo Walleye will serve as the coaches for the ECHL All-Stars in the 2022 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic, to be hosted by the Jacksonville Icemen on Monday, Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. The game will air LIVE exclusively on NHL Network and be streamed via FloHockey.
In this year's All-Star event, the host Jacksonville Icemen will take on a team of ECHL All-Stars representing the other teams in the League, as well as feature several Skills events which will count as a goal towards the winning Player's team score. Each team will also have a representative from the Premier Hockey Federation and Professional Women's Hockey Players Association.
Wellwood and Watson receive the coaching honors by virtue of their teams having the top winning percentage in their respective conference through games of Dec. 22.
Wellwood was named the third head coach in Growlers' team history on Aug. 20, 2021. He joined the Growlers after three seasons with the Ontario Hockey League's Flint Firebirds where he began as an associate coach before taking over as head coach during the 2018-19 season. In 2019-20, Wellwood led the club to its best season in franchise history (40-21-1-1). Prior to his time with Flint, Wellwood spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL's Oshawa Generals, including their Memorial Cup championship season in 2014-15. As a player, Wellwood was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to skate in 31 NHL regular season games and 11 playoff games with the Philadelphia Flyers in addition to 164 American Hockey League games with the Adirondack Phantoms.
Watson is coaching in his third ECHL All-Star Classic after previously coaching in the 2017 and 2019 events. His three All-Star Games as a coach are tied for the most in ECHL history, joining Chris Cichocki, Glen Gulutzan, Davis Payne, Jeff Pyle and Matt Thomas. Watson has been a part of the Walleye's coaching staff since the 2009-10 season, serving as an assistant coach for seven seasons before being named head coach in the 2016-17 season. He received the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year in 2017-18 and in 2018-19, he led the Walleye to the Kelly Cup Finals, marking Toledo's first appearance in the ECHL Finals since the Toledo Storm won the Riley Cup in 1994.
The 14th class of the ECHL Hall of Fame will be officially inducted at a luncheon, presented by BFL CANADA and Sutton Special Risk, on Monday, Jan. 17 at 12:00 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida, the Official Host Hotel of the 2022 ECHL All-Star Classic.
For more information on the 2022 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.echlallstarclassic.com.
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