All-Star fan balloting begins Friday

The American Hockey League announced today that fan balloting for the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic will begin Friday, December 12, at 12:01 a.m. EST, exclusively on the official Web site of the AHL,

Fans will have the opportunity to vote for the most deserving AHL players by visiting and completing the official AHL All-Star Fan Ballot. The players receiving the most votes by position will earn berths in the starting lineups of both the Canadian AHL All-Star team and the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team. A committee of AHL coaches will select the remaining All-Stars, and all 28 clubs will be represented on the final rosters.

By completing the official ballot, fans will be entered to win various prizes, including the grand prize of an autographed game-worn jersey from the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic. Ten second-prize winners will each win an autographed commemorative magazine from the event, and 10 third-prize winners will receive an official 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic T-shirt.

On-line fan balloting at will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, January 4.

Of the 295 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 91 percent have competed in the NHL, including Daniel Briere, Andrew Brunette, Anson Carter, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, J.P. Dumont, Mike Dunham, Patrik Elias, Rico Fata, Manny Legace, John Madden, Brendan Morrison, Ladislav Nagy, Vaclav Prospal, Dwayne Roloson, Martin St. Louis, Marc Savard, Jason Spezza, Steve Sullivan and Tomas Vokoun.

The 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic will take place at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., home of the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. The event gets underway on Sunday, February 8, with the 2004 AHL All-Star Skills Competition at 7:00 p.m. (ET). The annual All-Star Game follows at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on Monday, February 9, and will be televised live in the United States and Canada.