The Cincinnati Cyclones, in conjunction with the ECHL, are proud to announce that Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Jason Payne will serve as a coach for the 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic.
Payne replaces All-Star coach Everett Sheen of Idaho, as the Steelheads are scheduled to play on the day of the All-Star Classic. Payne will coach a team composed of ECHL All-Stars from the Western Conference in a tournament taking on the Norfolk Admirals and the ECHL's Eastern Conference All-Stars on Monday, January 16 at Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia. The All-Star Classic will be nationallly televised on NHL Network beginning at 7p.m.
This is the third consecutive ECHL All-Star Classic that Payne will coach, having previously served as an assistant coach in Jacksonville last season and in Toledo in 2019.
"I'm honored and humbled that the ECHL has selected me for the opportunity to be part of another All-Star Classic," said Payne. "The league does a tremendous job of holding this event annually and rewards the players that have earned this chance due to their success throughout the season. For me, this isn't possible without the work ethic of our team and staff in Cincinnati. Everybody is pulling on the same rope. They've made my job easier, and I couldn't be more proud to represent our organization, along with Lincoln Griffin, later this month."
Payne, a Toronto, Ontario native, is in the midst of his second season as Head Coach of the Cyclones. The team currently ranks second in the Central Division and has the fifth-best points percentage across the ECHL (.700). Payne has been a member of the Cyclones organization since 2018, when he was named Assistant Coach under then-Head Coach Matt Thomas.
Before coaching, Payne spent 14 seasons in professional hockey, logging 132 games of service in the ECHL. The winger totaled 571 pro games across eight different leagues, racking up 2,017 penalty minutes.