The American Hockey League announced Tuesday the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star rosters for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, to take place Jan. 30-31 at Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.
Goaltender Jake Allen
and defenseman Nathan Oystrick have been selected to represent the Peoria Rivermen as part of the Western Conference team. Allen was selected to be the starting goaltender by AHL fans via on-line balloting at theahl.com, while a committee of AHL coaches selected the remainder of the rosters.
Each team comprises 23 players – 12 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders. All 30 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star. Each team featured 12 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders.
Allen, 20, has burst onto the professional scene to the tune of 15 wins in his first 18 games for Peoria (15-3-0) this season. A second-round draft pick (No. 34) by the St. Louis Blues in 2008, Allen earned four shutouts in eight appearances to begin the year and boasts a league-leading five shutouts overall. The Fredericton, N.B., native also paces the AHL in save percentage (.945) while ranking second in goals-against average (1.76) for the Western Conference-leading Rivermen.
Oystrick, 28, is on pace to set a career-high in points this season with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in just 26 games with the Rivermen. He leads the AHL blueliners in power-play goals (6), is tied for the league-lead in goals scored by a defenseman (with Sean Sullivan of Worcester) and ranks 14th among all AHL defensemen in points despite playing in at least eight fewer games than all 13 players ahead of him. The Regina, SK native is also one of only five defensemen to register the game-winning goal in a shootout this season.
This is the second all-star appearance for Oystrick, who made the team as a rookie during the 2006-07 season as a member of the Chicago Wolves, and the first for Allen. The 2011 squads include 31 first-time AHL All-Stars and 11 rookies. Among that group are AHL rookie scoring leader Rhett Rakhshani of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, leading rookie goal-scorer Bobby Butler of the Binghamton Senators, and along with Allen, standout first-year goaltender Martin Jones of the Manchester Monarchs. A total of 12 former first- and second-round draft picks were also named All-Stars, including Syracuse’s Kyle Palmieri, Springfield’s John Moore and Grand Rapids’ Brendan Smith.
Players returning to the AHL All-Star Classic include AHL leading scorer Corey Locke of Binghamton, who is the all-time leading scorer in AHL All-Star history with nine points in four previous appearances. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Dustin Jeffrey, Hershey’s Andrew Gordon, Charlotte’s Bryan Rodney, Manchester’s Viatcheslav Voynov, Manitoba’s Sergei Shirokov and Houston’s Maxim Noreau are all back in the midseason classic after making their first appearance in 2010.
Hershey Bears head coach Mark French and assistant coach Troy Mann will guide the Eastern Conference All-Stars by virtue of the Bears’ 2010 Calder Cup championship. Rookie head coaches John Hynes of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Jared Bednar of the Peoria Rivermen are set to co-coach the Western Conference entry after their teams finished play this past Sunday with the best records in their respective conferences.
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.