Trio of alumni named All-Star honorees

WINNIPEG, Man. … The American Hockey League announced today that former Winnipeg Jets and AHL alumni Serge Savard, John Ferguson and Ab McDonald, with 19 Stanley Cup championships among them, will be honored at the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, to be held January 31 and February 1 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

A 1986 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Serge Savard finished his 1966-67 rookie season with the AHL’s Quebec Aces. He went on to play 14 seasons in the National Hockey League with the Montreal Canadiens, winning eight Stanley Cup championships. Savard concluded his playing career in Winnipeg, joining the Jets from 1981-83. The Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the 1969 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Savard also played in the Summit Series in 1972 and the Canada Cup in 1977. The Montreal native returned to the Canadiens and served as general manager from 1983-95, winning two more Stanley Cup titles.

John Ferguson was named a First Team AHL All-Star following the 1962-63 season.

Savard 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 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.

More than 100 of the Hall’s honored members are AHL alumni.

John Ferguson played three seasons with the AHL’s Cleveland Barons and was a First Team AHL All-Star in 1963 before spending the next eight years in Montreal, where he was a member of five Stanley Cup winners. Ferguson served as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 1972 Summit Series, then became head coach and general manager of the New York Rangers. Ferguson would go on to spend 11 seasons as GM of the Winnipeg Jets (1978-89), leading the club to the final WHA championship in 1979.

Ab McDonald, a Winnipeg native, played parts of five seasons in the AHL, capturing a Calder Cup championship with the Pittsburgh Hornets in 1967. He won three Stanley Cups with Montreal and one more with Chicago during his 18-year pro career, which ended with two seasons as a member of the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets from 1972-74.

Native Winnipegger Ab McDonald won a Calder Cup with Pittsburgh in 1967.

Ferguson and McDonald will serve as the honorary team captains for the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic. Previous honorary captains have included 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 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will take place at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, home of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. The event gets underway on Tuesday, January 31, with the 2006 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition at 8:00 p.m. (ET). The annual All-Star Game follows at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, February 1, and will be televised live nationally in the United States and Canada.

Of the 364 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 92 percent have competed in the NHL, including Patrice Bergeron, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Steve Sullivan.