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Murphy returning to Aeros

The American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros have signed two-time Eddie Shore Award winner Curtis Murphy, who played for the Aeros from 2001-03.

Also, the Aeros’ parent club, the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild, has signed right wing Joey Tetarenko, who played for the Aeros for the final three months of the 2004-05 season, and right wing Kyle Wanvig, an Aero for most of the past four seasons.

Murphy, 29, enters his eighth pro season in 2005-06, and he owns three championship rings from his previous seven campaigns. The 5-foot-8, 192-pound native of Kerrobert, Sask., was a member of Orlando’s Turner Cup (IHL) team in 2001, Houston’s Calder Cup squad in 2003 and Milwaukee’s Calder Cup team in 2004. Murphy became just the fourth player in AHL history to garner back-to-back Eddie Shore Awards as the league’s top defenseman when he was given the award for the second time in 2003-04.

Murphy played for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv in Russia in 2004-05, totaling 12 points (6g, 6a) and 50 penalty minutes in 60 games.

Murphy spent both the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons with the Aeros. He had 101 points (35g, 66a) in 160 games with Houston, while chipping in 15 points (4g, 11a) in 36 playoff contests.

“I love Houston,” Murphy said. “I know the organization is really great to play for and is hungry for a championship. I have friends in Houston from before. I’m going to hit 30 this year so I’m starting to learn that my role is to help out the younger guys. If I can do that, that’s fine by me. I enjoy playing the game, and I’ll play it until they boot me out.”

Murphy, who also won an NCAA championship at North Dakota in 1997, was a First Team AHL All-Star in 2003 and 2004 and has played in six All-Star Games in as many seasons in North America, including the AHL Classic in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Counting last season in Russia, and including the postseason, Murphy has played in 367 of his teams’ 368 games over the past four seasons. The lone game he has missed since 2001-02 was the opener of the 2003-04 season, to attend the funeral of former teammate Dan Snyder.

Murphy made his NHL debut – his only NHL contest to date – Dec. 15, 2002, with the Wild against the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center.

Kyle Wanvig also helped Houston to the Calder Cup championship in 2003.

Wanvig, 24, skated in 76 games with the Aeros last season and totaled 30 points (13g, 17a) including a career-high 17 assists and 158 penalty minutes. The 6-foot-2, 219-pound forward ranked tied for first on the team with seven power play goals and four game-winning tallies and third in PIM.

Wanvig led Houston in scoring during the 2003-04 campaign with 25 goals and 41 points in 72 contests and played in the 2004 AHL All-Star Classic. The Calgary native was a member of the Aeros’ 2003 Calder Cup championship team and has appeared in 13 career NHL contests with Minnesota. He made his NHL debut on November 25, 2002 against Vancouver and registered his first career NHL goal on December 17, 2002 against Edmonton.

Wanvig was selected by Minnesota in the second round (36th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

Tetarenko, 27, totaled one assist and 49 penalty minutes in 15 games with the Aeros in 2004-05, joining the team in mid-February. Tetarenko, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound native of Prince Albert, Sask., has AHL totals of 61 points (15g, 46a) and 734 PIM in 287 games, having also played for New Haven, Louisville, San Antonio, Binghamton and Lowell.

He has five points (4g, 1a) and 176 PIM in 73 career NHL games with Florida and Ottawa. He made his NHL debut October 27, 2000, for Florida at Nashville. The eighth-year pro is of Native American (Metis) descent.

“I wasn’t playing last year and Minnesota gave me an opportunity to come to Houston,” Tetarenko said. “Houston is a city I enjoyed. It’s an organization that gave me the chance to play. They offered me another contract and I was more than happy to take it, no matter if I’m in Minnesota or Houston. I’m having a great time down here.”