Bathgate, Thomas, Oates named All-Star honorees

bathgate_200.jpgSPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that AHL alumni Andy Bathgate, Steve Thomas and Adam Oates will be honored at the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, to be held January 28-29 at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.

A 1978 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Andy Bathgate won a Calder Cup championship with the AHL’s Cleveland Barons in 1953-54, a year before gaining a regular roster spot in the National Hockey League with the New York Rangers.

He became one of the most gifted offensive players in the NHL, earning league MVP honors in 1959 and helping the Toronto Maple Leafs capture the Stanley Cup in 1964.

Bathgate had one more stint in the AHL with the Pittsburgh Hornets in 1966-67, and retired with 349 goals and 973 points in 1,069 career NHL games.

Bathgate will be the honored guest at the annual Hockey Hall of Fame/AHL All-Star Luncheon, which each year honors a Hockey Hall of Famer with ties to the AHL. Past honorees include Serge Savard, Larry Robinson, Billy Smith, Grant Fuhr, Rod Langway, Brad Park, George Armstrong, Glen Sather, Bill Torrey, Al Arbour, Bill Barber, Ken Dryden, Lorne “Gump” Worsley, Johnny Bower, Glenn Hall and Emile Francis. All told, more than 100 of the Hall’s honored members are AHL alumni.

thomas_200.jpgSteve Thomas captured the Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s rookie of the year in 1984-85, when he recorded 42 goals and 90 points in 64 games for the Maple Leafs’ top affiliate, the St. Catharines Saints.

Thomas, who played his junior hockey for the Toronto Marlboros, was a fan favorite during his six seasons with the Leafs, and finished his 20-year National Hockey League career with 421 goals – including nine 20-goal campaigns – in 1,235 NHL games.

Adam Oates is the National Hockey League’s all-time leading scorer among American Hockey League graduates, registering 1,420 points over 19 seasons from 1985-2004. A native of Weston, Ont., Oates won a Calder Cup championship with the Adirondack Red Wings in 1986, finishing second on the team in playoff scoring with 21 points in 17 postseason games that spring.

He went on to play in five NHL All-Star Games and two Stanley Cup Finals, and ranks sixth on the NHL’s all-time assists list with 1,079.

oates2_200.jpgThomas and Oates will serve as the honorary team captains for the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic. Previous honorary captains have included John Ferguson, Ab McDonald, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Adam Graves, Joe Kocur, Kevin Dineen, Gordie Clark, Lanny McDonald, Darryl Sittler, Don Cherry, Bill Dineen, Jim Craig and Al MacNeil.

The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will take place at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, home of the AHL’s Marlies. The event features the 2007 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 28 (7:00 ET) and the 2007 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 29 (7:00 ET), and will be televised live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and on a network of regional broadcast partners in the United States.

Of the 394 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Daniel Briere, Jonathan Cheechoo, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Ray Emery, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Dwayne Roloson, Marc Savard, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Steve Sullivan and Kyle Wellwood.