The American Hockey League today named Cincinnati Mighty Ducks forward Chris Kunitz to the Canadian AHL All-Star roster and San Antonio Rampage forward Denis Shvidki, Milwaukee Admirals defenseman Andrew Hutchinson and St. John’s Maple Leafs defenseman Pierre Hedin to the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star roster for the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held Feb. 8-9 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The AHL also announced that Tony Martensson of Cincinnati (PlanetUSA) and Fedor Tyutin of Hartford (PlanetUSA) will miss the event due to injury, while Eric Beaudoin of San Antonio (Canadian), Derek Roy of Rochester (Canadian) and Mike Komisarek of Hamilton (PlanetUSA) will be unavailable due to recall to the National Hockey League.
Currently in the NHL with Anaheim, Kunitz, 24, enters the weekend tied for the AHL’s rookie scoring lead with 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 38 games with Cincinnati. The native of Regina, Sask., returns to western Michigan, where he was an All-American at Ferris State University and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2003 after finishing second in the nation with 35 goals and 79 points in 42 games.
Shvidki, 23, was a first-round draft choice (12th overall) by Florida in 1999. He participated in the 2001 AHL All-Star Classic in Wilkes-Barre as a 20-year-old rookie, and set a league All-Star record with a five-point game. This season, Shvidki leads the Rampage with 23 assists and ranks third in team scoring with 31 points in 42 matches. A native of Kharkov, Ukraine, Shvidki has played 74 career NHL games, all with the Panthers.
Hutchinson, 23, played four seasons at Michigan State (1998-2002) and was a third-round draft choice by Nashville in 1999. The Evanston, Ill., native is currently on recall to the NHL’s Predators, where he is tied for fourth among NHL rookies with a plus-6 rating, adding two goals and two assists in 12 contests. Hutchinson has picked up 13 points and a plus-12 rating in 22 games with Milwaukee this year.
Hedin, 25, is in his first season in North America after beginning his career in his native Sweden. He has five goals and 11 assists in 40 contests with St. John’s in 2003-04, and recorded an assist in his NHL debut with Toronto on Jan. 13. Hedin played the last seven seasons with MoDo, and represented Sweden at the World Championships in 2002.
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 Sun., February 8, with the 2004 AHL All-Star Skills Competition at 7:00 p.m. (ET), with the annual All-Star Game following at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on Mon., February 9. The 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic will be televised to more than 100 million households on 20 regional television partners in the United States, and on Rogers Sportsnet nationally in Canada.