Many have turned their focus to the Olympics as NHL players prepare to represent their countries in the coming days, but for the farm teams of the AHL, the show goes on. The American Hockey League will have it’s annual All-Star Classic in St. John’s this year, a city full of hockey-crazy fans, and plenty of Winnipeg Jets prospects. The festivities get started with the Skills Competition on Tuesday night, and the AHL will honor it’s 2014 Hall of Fame inductees in a ceremony on Wednesday morning. Everything wraps up on Wednesday evening, when the AHL All-Stars take on Farjestad BK of the Swedish Elite League in the All-Star Game.
This is the first year that the league has put their stars up against a European team, and Farejestad BK will be no pushover. The club, founded in 1932, has won nine championships all-time, including four in the past 11 seasons. The club is led by Dallas Stars prospect Ludwig Bystrom, as well as Nashville Predators prospect Pontus Aberg. Both players were selected in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Farjestad will then travel to Toronto after the Classic, and take on the Toronto Marlies in an exhibition match on February 15th.
The AHL All-Stars will be captained by the Ice Caps’ own Jason Jaffray, who has played in 525 AHL games his 12-year career. Jaffray is the lone Jets’ prospect to make the club, and is playing in his third All-Star Classic. Other notables include Brandon Pirri of the Chicago Blackhawks (Rockford IceHogs), Ryan Spooner of the Boston Bruins (Providence Bruins), and Martin Jones of the Los Angeles Kings (Manchester Monarchs), who had an incredible start to his NHL career earlier this season. You can view the full roster here.
The squad will be coached by Jeff Blashill and Rob Zettler, who battled it out behind the benches of the Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch in the 2013 Calder Cup Final.
The All-Star Classic boasts an alumni roster full of NHL stars, such as Zdeno Chara, Ryan Miller, Patrick Sharp, Chris Kunitz, and many more. In fact, 9 out of every 10 All-Stars go on to play in the NHL. Also, eight current NHL coaches have been behind the bench in the All-Star Classic, including Bruce Boudreau of the Anaheim Ducks and John Tortorella of the Vancouver Canucks.
The game and skills competition will be nationally televised live on Sportsnet One in Canada, and on the NHL Network everywhere else. Click here to see the broadcast availability/times in your area.
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