RALEIGH, NC—The Carolina Hurricanes today announced prospect Shane Willis has been selected to participate in the International Hockey League’s All-Star Game. The game features the Turner Cup Champion Houston Aeros versus a collection of the best players in the IHL and will be played on January 17, 2000 in Houston. Willis, 22, leads his team, the Cincinnati Cyclones, in goals with 17 and ranks third on the team in points with 30. His 17 goals rank second in the IHL.
“We are pleased with Shane’s continued development,” stated Rutherford. “He has shown that he can score at the junior and AHL level, and now, he is enjoying success at the IHL level. This is just another step in his progress to the NHL.”
Willis was drafted by the Hurricanes in the fourth round (fourth pick, 88th overall), in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft. For Willis, it marks the second consecutive season he has been selected to an all-star game in his professional career. Willis was selected to play in the American Hockey League All-Star Game last season as a member of the Beast of New Haven where he recorded an assist and won the hardest shot competition in the skills tournament with a 95 mph shot. Willis finished that season as the Beast’s top scorer with 81 points (31g, 50a) and was named to the AHL’s First All-Star Team. In his NHL career, Willis has played a total of seven games with no points.
At the World Junior Championships, the Hurricanes have two NHL Entry Draft prospects competing in the tournament. Josef Vasicek, a fourth round pick in 1998 (91st overall), and Jaroslav Svoboda, an eighth round pick in 1998 (208th overall), are both playing for the Czech National Team. Vasicek has four points (1g, 3a) for the 1-0-2 Czech team. He ranks tied for first on his team in scoring while Svoboda has two assists, which ranks tied for second on the squad.
The Hurricanes’ next game is Saturday night at Atlanta at 7:00 p.m. and the team’s next home game will be on Tuesday night, January 4, 2000, at 7:30 p.m. against the Ottawa Senators. The Hurricanes will host the FedEx Superskills event on Sunday, January 2, 2000 at 3:00 p.m. at the Entertainment and Sports Arena. Tickets are on sale now and on the day of the event.