Wilkes-Barre, PA – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Joe Mullen and assistant coach Al Sims will be behind the bench for the Planet/USA All-Stars at the 2006 Reebok AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held on February 1 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Planet/USA All-Star were selected based on having the best winning percentage in the AHL as of January 15. The Penguins currently lead the AHL with an .847 percentage, a mark which can not be equaled before the deadline.
“Al and myself are honored to be representing the Penguins organization, and the great fans from Northeastern Pennsylvania, at one of the American Hockey League’s premier events,” said Mullen. “I’ve played in several All-Star games in the past, and it’s always a fun and unforgettable experience for fans and players alike.”
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Mullen appeared in three All-Star Games during his National Hockey League career. He recorded three points (2+1) for the Calgary Flames at the 1989 game in Edmonton and added two more (1+1) at the 1990 game held in Pittsburgh.
His final All-Star appearance came as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, when he recorded two points (1+1) at the 1994 Game held at Madison Square Garden.
Named the Penguins head coach on December 19, Mullen became the first American-born player to record 1,000 points and 500 goals in the National Hockey League. He finished his 18-year NHL career with 502 goals, 561 assists and 1,063 points, and remains the top American-born goal scorer to this date.
Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000, Mullen spent four seasons as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh before being named Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s head coach.
Selected in the third round (47th overall) of the 1973 NHL Amateur Draft by the Boston Bruins, Sims appeared in 476 NHL games with the Bruins, Hartford Whalers and Los Angeles Kings, recording 165 points (49+116) and 286 penalty minutes in regular season action. He also suited up for the Rochester Americans and New Haven Nighthawks in the American Hockey League, recording 179 points (45+134) in 275 games.
The PlanetUSA Team comprises players born outside of Canada. AHL fans determined the starting lineup via on-line balloting at theahl.com, while a committee of AHL coaches selected the remainder of the roster.
The 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will take place at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, home of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, and will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League. The event gets underway on Tuesday, January 31, with the 2006 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition at 7:00 p.m. (CT). The annual All-Star Game follows at 7:00 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, February 1, and will be televised live in North America.