Gladiators' Fox lone all-star

DULUTH - Jordan Fox, the Gwinnett Gladiators leading scorer, was named an ECHL All-Star on Wednesday.

He cleaned up just in time.

Up until the holiday break, Fox was sporting a rather unfortunate mustache. It was penalty for losing a post-practice shootout.

"I had to shave when I got home (for the holidays)," Fox said with a chuckle. "My mom didn't like it too much. With all the Christmas pictures and stuff like that, she's like, 'That needs to go right now.' It was time."

He had to grow it for a month, but apparently even that wasn't sufficient punishment.

"My hair is really fair, so (Scott Marchesi) bought me some 'Just for Men' so it got a little bit darker."

The spruced up Fox will head to Reading, Pa., for the all-star festivities - which is airing live on NHL Network - after Gwinnett's special early Martin Luther King Jr. Day game on Jan. 19.

He's the Gladiators lone all-star, the first time in six years Gwinnett hasn't had at least three representatives. But he doesn't go alone.

In a extremely unusual situation, current teammate Joe Fallon is going as a Fresno Falcon. The 23-year-old goaltender was named to the National Conference team on Tuesday.

Fallon and four other former Falcons arrived in Gwinnett last week after Fresno abruptly ceased operations on Dec. 22. The Gladiators agreed to become the Chicago Blackhawks' new ECHL affiliate and got Fallon, two forwards and two defensemen out of the deal.

"I was reading online yesterday, I didn't even know I had made it, but I saw they announced he was playing," Fox said. "I was like, 'Wow, that's kind of weird that he'll be in net."

Fox and Fallon will compete against one another.

Fox is taking that under consideration for the next few weeks.

"Hopefully at practice this week, I don't give away any secrets on any of my breakaway moves," he joked.

Fox has a team-leading 13 goals and 18 assists in 30 games. His 31 points are tied for 11th overall in the league.

The 24-year-old forward talked recently about how individual accomplishments pale in comparison to team success. The Gladiators have struggled to find consistency this season.

But that doesn't diminish Fox's enjoyment of being named to his first all-star team.

"It's a pretty big honor," Fox said. "I think it's pretty cool. You know, we've got a lot of good players here that could have gone just as easily as me.

"I've never really been part of an all-star game before. My league last year (the International Hockey League) didn't have one. So I think it'll be pretty fun. It'll be a good experience."

Fox and Fallon will have a tight schedule with their home game at 12:30 p.m. the day before the skills competition and a game in Florida on Jan. 23.

"I'm sure I'll be a little tired, but that's just part of it," he said.

The skills competition assignments will be announced by the league later. Fox only has one request.

"Just hopefully not the fastest skater," he said with a grin. "That's one that I do not want to do. But like the relay, or something like that, I think I'll be OK. Just as long as I don't fall and embarrass myself, I think it'll be a good time."

Shaving off the mustache was a solid start.

SideBar: ECHL All-Star Game

When: Jan. 21

Where: Reading, Pa.

TV: NHL Network (live)

American Conference starting lineup:

· G Kris Mayotte, Johnstown

· D Greg Labenski, Dayton

· D Jon Landry, Johnstown

· F Kevin Baker, Florida

· F Olivier Latendresse, Cincinnati

· F Travis Morin, South Carolina

American Conference roster

· G David Leggio, Florida

· G Michal Neuvirth, South Carolina

· D Aaron Brocklehurst, Florida

· D Matt Cohen, Trenton

· D Johann Kroll, South Carolina

· D Steve Ward, Reading

· F Josh Aspenlind, Elmira

· F Justin Bowers, Dayton

· F Ryan Cruthers, Mississippi

· F Tyler Doig, Reading

· F Matthew Ford, Charlotte

· F Jordan Fox, Gwinnett

· F Tommy Goebel, Wheeling

· F Nick Johnson, Wheeling

· F Rob Sirianno, Wheeling