Hynes, Bednar named West All-Star coaches

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … Rookie head coaches John Hynes of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Jared Bednar of the Peoria Rivermen have been named the co-coaches of the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, to take place Jan. 30-31 in Hershey, Pa.

Hynes and Bednar earned the honor because their teams will own the best record in their respective conference as of the pre-determined deadline, the end of play Sunday. Hynes’s Penguins are tops in the Eastern Conference with a record of 29-8-0-0 (.784), while Bednar’s Rivermen are leading the Western Conference with a record of 24-10-2-1 (.689).

Hynes, 35, is in his first season as head coach after serving as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s assistant in 2009-10. He spent six seasons as a head coach with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, winning three IIHF Under-18 Championships medals and developing more than 30 future NHL players. He was also head coach of Team USA at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships, and was an assistant on the 2004 team that won World Junior gold. The Warwick, R.I., native played collegiately at Boston University and helped the Terriers to a national championship in 1995.

Bednar, 38, became Peoria’s head coach in 2010-11 after spending last season as an assistant coach with the Abbotsford Heat. Prior to that, Bednar spent seven seasons with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays as an assistant coach, head coach and general manager, guiding the club to the league championship in 2009. The native of Yorkton, Sask., had AHL stints in St. John’s and Rochester during his nine-year playing career.

By virtue of winning the 2010 Calder Cup championship, Hershey Bears head coach Mark French and assistant coach Troy Mann will serve as coaches of the Eastern Conference All-Star team. It will be the second consecutive All-Star appearance for French and Mann.

Tickets for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross – which include admission to both the 2011 AHL All-Star Skills Competition at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 30, and the 2011 AHL All-Star Game at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 31 – are nearly sold out. Tickets remain available for the 2011 AHL Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Ceremony (January 31, 11 a.m.) and the Post-Skills Party (January 30, 6 p.m.). Contact the Giant Center box office at (717) 534-3911 for information.

The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross in Hershey will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League, competing in the AHL All-Star Skills Competition and the AHL All-Star Game, a two-day event to be televised nationally in the United States and Canada. Of the 528 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, Dan Boyle, Daniel Briere, Dustin Byfuglien, Brian Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Eric Fehr, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Bobby Ryan, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Tomas Vokoun.