Kansas City Mavericks president and general manager Brent Thiessen dropped by the team’s training room at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena a few weeks back to personally deliver a special message to head athletic trainer Nick Potter.

“Brent came by and said, ‘This is going to be announced, but I wanted to congratulate you personally on being named the head athletic trainer for the ECHL All-Star Game,’” Potter said recently. “I was really surprised. There is no greater honor than to be honored by your peers, and I am so excited about going to the All-Star Game.”

The game will be played at 7 p.m. tonight at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita and will be broadcast on the NHL Network.

Potter, who was voted in by his ECHL peers, will be joined by Mavericks defenseman Zach Osburn, who replaces Kansas City’s injured defenseman Justin Woods, who had originally been selected to represent Kansas City.

Following the format established last season, the winter classic will feature a 3-on-3 tournament with four teams competing for the top spot. The host Wichita Thunder will make up two of the four teams and face off against the other two teams made up of all-star players from the Eastern and Western Conference. These four teams will compete in a 3-on-3 tournament with rally scoring in order to crown a winner.

This is not the first major honor for Potter, who is in his fifth season with the Mavericks. Last year he was named the ECHL Athletic Trainer of the Year.

A graduate of Western Michigan University with a bachelor of science degree in athletic training, Potter had spent seven seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs prior to joining the Mavericks staff. He also worked with the Detroit Lions as an athletic training intern for the 2004 and 2005 seasons before interning with the Chiefs in 2006. Potter earned his master’s degree in sport management from Texas Tech University.

“Rehab work with a player is a process, and I believe it can be tougher mentally than physically because playing hockey is in their DNA – these guys want to be out on the ice,” Potter said.

“Every player is working toward the process of getting healthy and getting back on the ice, and we develop a program for each player. There is nothing quite as rewarding as working with a player and watching him come back better than ever.”

That was the case two years ago when captain Rocco Carzo tore his ACL two weeks into the season.

“Nick worked with me side by side, he was like my brother,” said Carzo, who has come back to the ice with a renewed optimism in his game. “I really don’t know what I would have done without Nick.

“I spent more time with him than any member of my family, and I was so thrilled when he was named the trainer of the year, and now the all-star trainer. He deserves every honor that comes his way.”