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Canadian AHL All-Star team announced

The American Hockey League announced today the Canadian AHL All-Star team roster for the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic, to be played next month at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The team, comprising players born in Canada, includes 21 skaters and three goaltenders. AHL fans determined the starting lineup via on-line balloting at theahl.com, while a committee of AHL coaches selected the remainder of the roster. The PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team roster will be announced on Thursday.

Twenty of the 24 members of the Canadian team will be making their AHL All-Star debuts, including rookies Kyle Wellwood and Carlo Colaiacovo of St. John’s, Scottie Upshall of Milwaukee, Derek Roy of Rochester, Doug Lynch of Toronto, Aaron Johnson of Syracuse, Wade Dubielewicz of Bridgeport and David LeNeveu of Springfield.

Worcester IceCats defenseman Terry Virtue has been selected to captain the Canadian team, seven years after making his first AHL All-Star Classic appearance in 1997, while Milwaukee defenseman Curtis Murphy has earned his third consecutive All-Star berth.

Because he led the Houston Aeros to the Calder Cup championship in 2003, Todd McLellan will serve as the head coach for the Canadian AHL All-Star team.

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.

2004 CANADIAN AHL ALL-STAR TEAM

Forwards
Eric Beaudoin, San Antonio
x-Benoit Gratton, Hamilton
Steve Kelly, Manchester
Kirby Law, Philadelphia
x-Eric Perrin, Hershey
x-Jason Pominville, Rochester
Brandon Reid, Manitoba
Nathan Robinson, Grand Rapids
Derek Roy, Rochester
Scottie Upshall, Milwaukee
Kyle Wanvig, Houston
Kyle Wellwood, St. John’s
Chad Wiseman, Hartford

Defensemen
Carlo Colaiacovo, St. John’s
x-Dan Jancevski, Utah
Aaron Johnson, Syracuse
Doug Lynch, Toronto
x-Bryan Muir, Manchester
Curtis Murphy, Milwaukee
Brandon Smith, Bridgeport
Terry Virtue, Worcester (“C”)

Goaltenders
x-Wade Dubielewicz, Bridgeport
Ray Emery, Binghamton
David LeNeveu, Springfield

Head Coach: Todd McLellan, Houston
Assistant Coaches: Matt Shaw and Cam Stewart, Houston
Athletic Trainer: Jerry Meins, Houston
Equipment Manager: Rick Bronwell, Houston

x-starters

2004 CANADIAN AHL ALL-STAR TEAM STARTERS

Wade Dubielewicz, Goaltender (Bridgeport Sound Tigers): In his rookie season out of the University of Denver, Wade Dubielewicz leads the American Hockey League with a 1.26 goals against average and is second with a .949 save percentage. His 11-3-1 record includes a personal 12-game unbeaten streak, and he was the AHL’s Rookie of the Month for December. The native of Invermere, B.C., was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in U.S. collegiate hockey in 2002.

Dan Jancevski, Defense (Utah Grizzlies): A third-round draft choice by the Dallas Stars in 1999, Dan Jancevski is a big presence on the blue line for the Utah Grizzlies. After scoring once in 153 games over his first two seasons, the 22-year-old Jancevski has netted three goals already in 2003-04, and he is among the team leaders in plus/minus rating. A native of Windsor, Ont., Jancevski also leads the Grizzlies with 100 minutes in penalties, a plateau he has reached in each of his three seasons in Utah.

Bryan Muir, Defense (Manchester Monarchs): Returning to the Granite State, where he spent three years at the University of New Hampshire, Manchester’s Bryan Muir is tied for the AHL scoring lead among defensemen with 24 points in 31 games while also appearing in two games with Los Angeles, making 2003-04 his ninth straight season seeing NHL action. The Winnipeg native reached the Calder Cup Finals with Hamilton in 1997 and the Stanley Cup Finals with Colorado in 2001.

Benoit Gratton, Forward (Hamilton Bulldogs): Eighth-year pro Benoit Gratton recorded a goal and an assist in the 2001 AHL All-Star Game, and was voted to start in last year’s event before injury cost him three months of the season. He returned to captain the Bulldogs to the Calder Cup Finals, and is back among the AHL’s leading scorers with 34 points in 25 games for Hamilton this season. A Montreal native, Gratton has skated in 58 career NHL games with Washington, Calgary and his hometown Canadiens.

Eric Perrin, Forward (Hershey Bears): Rejuvenating his career after spending three seasons in Finland, Eric Perrin ranks sixth in the AHL with 36 points in 39 matches for Hershey this season after signing with Tampa Bay over the summer. A former All-American and four-time 20-goal scorer at the University of Vermont, Perrin owns or shares the Bears’ season lead in goals, assists, points, power play goals, shorthanded goals and game-winning goals.

Jason Pominville, Forward (Rochester Americans): In his second season following a stellar junior career at Shawinigan (QMJHL), Jason Pominville has already surpassed his rookie total with 15 goals in 2003-04, and ranks second in the entire AHL with 10 power play markers. Rochester’s leading scorer with 32 points in 33 games, the 21-year-old winger from Repentigny, Que., who was drafted by Buffalo in the second round in 2001, made his NHL debut with the Sabres on Dec. 27.