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AHL Hall of Fame welcomes four

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. … The American Hockey League today formally inducted four new members into its American Hockey League Hall of Fame.

The AHL Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony took place at the Circus Maximus Theatre at Caesars Atlantic City as part of the festivities that are making up the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.

Honored for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the American Hockey League were Joe Crozier, a standout coach in several AHL stops who helped lay the foundation for the Rochester Americans franchise; Jack Gordon, a mainstay in the AHL as a player, coach and manager who won four Calder Cups with the Cleveland Barons; John Stevens, a steady defenseman and team leader who has also achieved success as a coach; and Zellio Toppazzini, considered the greatest player in the long history of the Providence Reds.

All-Star Classic honorary captains Bill Barber and Bob Clarke were recognized at the event for their years of service to the American Hockey League, and former AHL broadcaster and current TV voice of the Washington Capitals Joe Beninati served the master of ceremonies. Beninati will be joined by former AHL players Craig Laughlin and Alan May for the call of tonight’s AHL All-Star Game, airing live on Sportsnet throughout Canada, on a comprehensive network of regional networks in the U.S., and on ESPN America in northern Europe and the Middle East.

In an effort to make the rich tradition of the American Hockey League available to the widest possible audience, the AHL Hall of Fame is housed on-line at www.ahlhalloffame.com and is accessible to fans worldwide with the click of a mouse as a member of the AHL Internet Network.

Formed in 1936 and now in its 76th season of operation, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 85 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates.