ST. LOUIS – Rookie head coach Jared Bednar of the Blues’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Peoria Rivermen, along with goaltender Jake Allen, forward T.J. Hensick and defenseman Nathan Oystrick, will represent the Western Conference All-Star team at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic, to take place tonight in Hershey, Pa.
The game can be seen live on FOX Sports Midwest at 6 p.m.
Bednar, 38, became Peoria’s head coach in 2010-11 after spending last season as an assistant coach with the Abbotsford Heat. He will serve as the co-coach of the Western Conference and earned the honor because the Rivermen owned the best record in their respective conference as of the pre-determined deadline, the end of play on Jan. 9.
Bednar’s Rivermen currently have a record of 28-17-2-1 (.615).
Allen, 20, playing his first season of professional hockey, will get the start tonight for the Western Conference. He has burst onto the professional scene to the tune of 16 wins in his first 24 games for Peoria (16-8-0) this season. Allen earned four shutouts in eight appearances to begin the year and is tied for first in the league with five shutouts overall. The Fredericton, N.B., native also ranks third in the AHL in save percentage (.934).
Allen was originally drafted by the Blues in the second round, 34th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.
Hensick, 25, has made five appearances for the Blues this season recording an assist and serving two penalty minutes. In 26 outings with Peoria, the forward leads the Rivermen with 41 points including 11 goals and a club best 30 assists.
The Lansing, Michigan native was originally drafted by Colorado in the third round, 88th overall, of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by St. Louis from Colorado in exchange for Julian Talbot on June 17, 2010.
Oystrick, 28, is on pace to set a career-high in points this season with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in just 36 games with the Rivermen. He’s tied for first among AHL blueliners in power-play goals (6) and is tied for second in the league in goals scored by a defenseman.
The Regina, SK native was originally drafted by Atlanta in the seventh round, 198th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and was signed by St. Louis as a free agent on July 12, 2010.
The 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross in Hershey will feature the top young talent in the AHL. 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.