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by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC (July 24, 2000) – Jim Rutherford, CEO and General Manager of the National Hockey League Carolina Hurricanes, announced today the team has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with four-time All-Star defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh. As per club policy, no other terms were released.

“We are pleased to announce the signing of Sandis Ozolinsh to a five-year contract,” said Rutherford. “In Sandis, we now have one of the best offensive defensemen in the game today.”

Ozolinsh, 27, completed his eighth season in the NHL last year, posting 52 points (16g, 36a) and 46 penalty minutes in 82 games. Ozolinsh (6’3”, 205 lbs.) finished tied for seventh among NHL defensemen in scoring last season and was named to start in the All-Star game for the third time in his career. He has played in a total of four All-Star games and won a Stanley Cup as a member of the 1995-96 Colorado Avalanche. During the 1996-97 season, the Riga, Lativa native was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy which recognizes the league’s top defenseman after establishing career highs in assists (45) and points (68).

Drafted by San Jose in the second round (30th overall) of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft, Ozolinsh spent four seasons with the Sharks before being traded to Colorado in exchange of Owen Nolan on October 26, 1995. Ozolinsh has totaled 369 points (115g, 254a) and 367 penalty minutes in 506 games in the NHL. He is the fifth-highest scoring NHL defenseman over the last five years with 257 points during that span, trailing only Nicklas Lidstrom (313), Brian Leetch (294), Ray Bourque (289), and Sergei Zubov (259).

Ozolinsh was acquired on June 24 along with a second round pick (32nd overall – Tomas Kurka) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange of defenseman Nolan Pratt, the Hurricanes’ first round pick (14th overall – Vaclav Nedorost) and two second round picks (47th overall – Jared Aulin; 63rd overall -- Agris Saviels) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

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