9 AHL’ers heading to U.S. Olympic camp

USA Hockey on Thursday announced that 39 players have been invited to the 2005 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Orientation Camp, to be held Sept. 5-8 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Among the 39 players are nine who played in the American Hockey League during the 2004-05 season.

“The orientation camp will be a terrific opportunity for our staff to come together with the candidates for our Olympic Team to assess the potential make-up of our squad,” said Don Waddell, general manager of the 2006 Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team in making the announcement. “It will not be a tryout camp as the evaluation process will continue throughout the first part of the NHL season, however, it will be an important first step in the total process.”

The camp is designed to assist in the preparation of the 2006 United States Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team that will compete at the XX Olympic Winter Games to be held Feb. 10-26 in Torino, Italy, and will consist of both on- and off-ice components.

Joining fellow AHL alumni Ty Conklin, Rick DiPietro and Robert Esche among the goaltenders in camp will be the Rochester Americans’ Ryan Miller, who won the Baz Bastien Trophy as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender in 2004-05. Miller (East Lansing, Mich.) went 41-17-4 for the league-leading Amerks last year and was a First Team AHL All-Star, and skated in the AHL All-Star Classic in 2004 and 2005.

Other 2005 AHL All-Stars headed to Colorado Springs are Albany forward Zach Parise (Minneapolis, Minn.), Manchester forward Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y.), Manitoba forward Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich.) and Binghamton defenseman Brian Pothier (New Bedford, Mass.), a postseason Second Team AHL All-Star in 2004-05.

Hamilton’s Chris Higgins (Smithtown, N.Y.), Manchester’s Tim Gleason (Clawson, Mich.), Milwaukee’s Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis.) and Albany’s Brian Gionta (Rochester, N.Y.) have also been invited to the camp.