Three current Blizzard members and two former Buffalo players and a coach will be in the spotlight Wednesday when the National Professional Soccer League holds its 14th annual All-Star game at HSBC Arena. (7:30 p.m., Empire; Radio 1520 taped at 9:30).
NPSL Commissioner Steve Ryan, a former National Hockey League executive who is credited with creating the NHL's All-Star weekend, said he expects about 10,000 fans to attend. Tickets are $8, $12 and $16, same as Blizzard regular-season games.
All 10 NPSL teams will be represented by at least two players each on the 17-member squads chosen by coaches, general managers and Ryan to represent the American and National conferences.
Defender Carlos Zavala and midfielders Randy Pikuzinski and Danny Barber will represent Buffalo on the American squad. Their teammates include former Blizzard forward Gino DiFlorio (Harrisburg Heat). Zavala was injured in Saturday's game against the Baltimore Blast. If he is unable to play, another Blizzard teammate will substitute.
Mauro Biello, a former Blizzard star now with the Toronto ThunderHawks, will play for the Nationals, who will be coached by former Blizzard coach Gary Hindley, now with Toronto.
Buffalo hosted the All-Star game in 1995, when the Americans won, 29-24, at Memorial Auditorium.