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Moose veteran Jason Jaffray to lead St. John's IceCaps this season

NHL.com @NHL

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - There's a new home and a new look, but a familiar face will be leading the St. John's IceCaps.

The fledgling AHL team, which played out of the Manitoba capital last season, will be led by Moose veteran Jason Jaffray this season.

"Being named the first captain in this franchise's history is truly an honour," said Jaffray, who holds or share six Moose records.

"He's a veteran player in this league who understands the values of leadership," said IceCaps coach Keith McCambridge. "His work ethic will be a great example to the younger players on our team."

The arrival of the Atlanta Thrashers in Winnipeg forced the Moose to look for a new home.

While the Moose were the farm club of the Vancouver Canucks last season, the Chicago Wolves have taken on that role this year, switching farm teams with the Jets.

The IceCaps roster will feature only eight returning players from the Moose, but 10 players from last year's Wolves.

McCambridge was charged with putting together one roster out of the two sets of players and the new additions.

"Coming into a new organization, you're looking at pretty much two organizations coming together," McCambridge said. "You have the Manitoba Moose guys coming in here, you have the guys from the Chicago Wolves last year, and these free agent guys in here at camp. So you have three different aspects you're looking to put together."

Some players believe playing in St. John's will be a substantial help for the team. The team will be playing out of the Mile One Centre in downtown St. John's, which has a capacity of around 6,500.

Moose returnee Garth Murray, a veteran of 411 AHL games, believes St. John's is going to be a place players will be proud to play hockey, mostly because of the high ticket sales and atmosphere.

"They've sold 5,000 season tickets," Murray said. "The barn will be sold out basically all year, and you don't get that very often in this league. It's good to be in Canada where they appreciate hockey. The fans are excited to have us and all the players are excited to be here."

Jason King, a 30 year-old native of Corner Brook, N.L., who has played in the NHL, AHL and in Europe, is also excited about playing in St. John's.

"From the day I signed, the excitement has been building and building, and now that the day is here that we're finally getting going, it's hard to describe it," King said. "I'm more than excited to be back here. There's nobody more proud to be a Newfoundlander than I am."

Joining King in returning from Europe is goaltender David Aebischer.

Aebischer, a 33-year-old Swiss goaltender, who played for HC Lugano while in Switzerland, will be in goal for the St. John's IceCaps this season.

Although the goalie would have preferred playing in the NHL, he is going to work hard in the AHL and hope for the best.

"It's the best league in the world and I would like to play there again," said Aebischer. "I'm going to play well and as much as I can and see what happens. It's the first step and I'm going to have to take the second one later on."

Carl Klingberg and Patrice Cormier will be closely watched this season, as the two former World Junior Championship stand-outs are two of the strongest prospects in the Jets system.

Spencer Machacek will be looked at to duplicate his 53-point campaign from last season.

Offensive production from the defence will be expected of Mark Flood and Paul Postma who posted 40 points and 45 points respectively in the AHL last season.

The IceCaps open Friday on the road against the Providence Bruins. Their home opener is Oct. 14 against Hamilton.

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