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Photos: Chris Rutsch, Jonathan KozubPhotos: Chris Rutsch, Jonathan Kozub

Bourque, Craig named All-Star captains

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews announced today that Hershey Bears forward Chris Bourque and Cleveland Monsters forward Ryan Craig have been selected as the playing captains for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, to be held January 29-30 at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Captains for the American Hockey League All-Star teams are selected by the league president in recognition of their outstanding leadership and service.

Chris Bourque is the AHL’s career scoring leader among active players with 604 points (208 goals, 396 assists) in 610 games with Hershey, Hartford, Providence and Portland, including 25 points in 28 games this season. The 12th-year pro has captured two AHL scoring titles (2012, 2016) and was named league MVP for the 2015-16 regular season. A 30-year-old Boston native, Bourque also ranks among the AHL’s all-time playoff leaders with 78 assists (second) and 107 points (fifth) in 121 postseason games played (fourth), winning three Calder Cup championships (2006, 2009, 2010) in five trips to the Finals and earning MVP honors for the 2010 postseason. Bourque, who has also skated in 51 National Hockey League contests with Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston, has been a First Team AHL All-Star selection three times and will be making his fifth career AHL All-Star Classic appearance.

Ryan Craig is in his 14th pro season and ninth as an AHL team captain, serving in that role with Springfield, Norfolk and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before the last two years in Cleveland. Captain of the Monsters’ Calder Cup championship team in 2015-16, Craig has skated in 667 AHL games and totaled 165 goals and 181 assists for 346 points in his career, with four goals and four assists in 27 games for the Monsters in 2016-17. The 34-year-old native of Abbotsford, B.C., is also a two-time winner of his team’s IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award, and has appeared in 198 National Hockey League contests with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Columbus. This will be Craig’s first trip to the AHL All-Star Classic.

Starting at just $67, tickets for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross are on sale now and include admission to Saturday’s Phan Fest & Tailgate Party, Sunday’s AHL All-Star Skills Competition and Monday’s AHL All-Star Challenge. To purchase event tickets, please visit www.phantomshockey.com or www.pplcenter.com.

The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League: since 1995, more than 93 percent of All-Star Classic participants have gone on to compete in the National Hockey League, including Jake Allen, Artem Anisimov, Patrice Bergeron, Ben Bishop, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Callahan, Zdeno Chara, Logan Couture, Braden Holtby, Tyler Johnson, Martin Jones, Chris Kunitz, Zach Parise, Tuukka Rask, Pekka Rinne, Bobby Ryan, Cory Schneider, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, P.K. Subban and Mats Zuccarello, as well as former Lehigh Valley Phantoms representatives Nick Cousins, Brandon Manning and Anthony Stolarz.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, trainers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of NHL players last season were AHL graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2015-16, over 7.1 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America, the highest total attendance in league history.