Former Husky L'Esperance earns AHL All-Star berth
Former Michigan Tech hockey player Joel L'Esperance will play in the 2020 American Hockey League All-Star Classic on Monday (Jan. 27) for the second year in a row. L'Esperance leads the Texas Stars with 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists) this season in 37 games.
The game will be played at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, starting at 10 p.m. and will be aired on the NHL Network. Four teams will participate in a 3-on-3, round-robin 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, 3-on-3 game.
A skills competition will be held on Sunday at 8 p.m. with the All-Stars from the two Eastern Conference divisions against those from the two Western Conference divisions. The competitions will be puck control, relay fastest skater, rapid fire, hardest shot, accuracy shooting, pass and score, and breakaway relay.
L'Esperance, a native of Brighton, Michigan, played four seasons for the Huskies, appearing in 152 career games from 2014-18. He was an alternate captain as a senior and finished with 98 career points, racking up over 25 points in each of his final three seasons. In 20 career playoff games, he had 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists while finding the scoresheet in all three NCAA games with two assists and a goal.
L'Esperance has appeared in 100 career AHL games. Last season he scored 30 AHL goals in his first full pro season to rank ninth in the league in scoring and lead the Texas Stars. He was second amongst all rookies in the league in goals and also added 15 assists in 54 games.
In two NHL call-ups, L'Esperance has played 21 games for the Dallas Stars and has three goals. He was originally undrafted and signed with Dallas as a free agent on July 1, 2018.
Each of the AHL's four divisions will be represented by 12 players. Rosters were determined by committees of AHL coaches, and all 31 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.
In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League serves as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives, broadcasters, and staff of all 31 National Hockey League teams. Nearly 90 percent of today's NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2018-19, over 7 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America.