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Briere, Murray named honorary All-Star captains

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … American Hockey League President and Chief Executive Officer David Andrews announced today that Daniel Briere and Terry Murray will serve as the honorary 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.

Each year, the All-Star Classic honorary captains join the participating teams in the locker room and on the benches during the event, and are recognized for their careers at the annual AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony.

Drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996, Daniel Briere spent the majority of his first four professional seasons in the American Hockey League, skating in 169 games with the Springfield Falcons and winning the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie in 1997-98. Briere, who later had a brief stint with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2008-09, would go on to play 973 regular-season games and 124 Stanley Cup Playoff contests in the National Hockey League with Phoenix, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Montreal and Colorado before retiring in 2015. The two-time NHL All-Star also participated in the 1998 AHL All-Star Classic.

Currently an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres, Terry Murray was a two-time winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the outstanding defenseman in the AHL, capturing the honor in both 1977-78 and 1978-79 while a Philadelphia Flyers prospect with the back-to-back Calder Cup champion Maine Mariners. Murray, who played 363 regular-season games in the AHL, was named a First Team AHL All-Star three times before moving behind the bench in 1983. He has since spent 15 seasons as an NHL head coach and 11 more as an assistant, and he won 150 games as an AHL head coach with the Baltimore Skipjacks (1988-90) and the Adirondack/Lehigh Valley Phantoms (2012-15).

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.