The American Hockey League today named Cleveland Barons defenseman Garrett Stafford and Albany River Rats forward Craig Darby to the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star roster and Lowell Lock Monsters forward Mike Zigomanis to the Canadian AHL All-Star roster for the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held Feb. 8-9 at Van Andel Arena.
The AHL also announced that PlanetUSA selections Niklas Kronwall of Grand Rapids, Dennis Seidenberg of Philadelphia and Aleksander Suglobov of Albany will miss the event due to injury, while Pavel Brendl of Lowell will be unavailable due to recall to the National Hockey League.
Stafford, who turned 24 on Wednesday, ranks second in the AHL among defensemen and third among rookies in scoring with 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 40 games with Cleveland this season. The Los Angeles native played four seasons at the University of New Hampshire, began the season on a tryout contract with the Barons, and signed an NHL contract with San Jose on Dec. 9.
Darby, 31, will be making his fourth AHL All-Star appearance (1995, 1998, 2002). A native of Oneida, N.Y., Darby leads the River Rats with 15 goals, 21 assists and 36 points in 40 games this season, and on Wednesday became the 69th player in league history to reach the 500-point plateau for his AHL career. Darby won a Calder Cup championship with Philadelphia in 1998.
Zigomanis, 23, ranks first on the Lock Monsters with 28 assists and 38 points in 43 matches this season. The third-year pro from North York, Ont., has totaled 41 goals and 76 assists for 117 points in 160 career AHL contests with Lowell, and last season made 19 NHL appearances with Carolina, recording two goals and one assist. Zigomanis was a second-round draft pick by the Hurricanes in 2001.
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.