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Avs to join ‘Canes in Lowell

Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has renewed its affiliation agreement with the Lowell Lock Monsters of the American Hockey League (AHL) through the 2005-06 season.

The Colorado Avalanche will also send their top prospects to Lowell as part of the one-year agreement.

Next season will mark the fifth consecutive year that the Hurricanes have used Lowell as their top minor league affiliate. Carolina has shared the affiliation with the Calgary Flames for the past two seasons. The Calgary Flames will place their AHL affiliate in Omaha, Nebraska, for the 2005-06 season.

Colorado was previously affiliated with the Hershey Bears.

Carolina’s prospects on the Lock Monsters roster this season include first-round picks Eric Staal (2003) and Cam Ward (2002). Staal led the team in scoring for 2004-05, and set new Lock Monsters franchise records in points (77) and assists (51) in a season. Staal also led the AHL in shorthanded goals (7) and plus/minus (+37). Ward was fourth in the AHL this season in goals-against average (1.99) and first in save percentage (.937). Ward was named to the AHL’s 2004-05 All-Rookie team, and his goals-against average, save percentage and wins (26) totals set new Lowell single-season records.

Additional players in the Hurricanes’ system include Lowell’s top two all-time leading scorers, Mike Zigomanis (191 pts.) and Ryan Bayda (107 pts.).