December 11, 2012 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Milwaukee Admirals
Milwaukee, WI--The Milwaukee Admirals are proud to debut the Top 35 Admirals of All-Time as the team celebrates 35 years of professional hockey, presented by BMO Harris Bank. Each week during the remainder of the season the Admirals will announce new members of the list until the top slot is awarded on Saturday, April 13th.
This week's selections can be viewed below and more information on each player, including stats, photos, video and more, can be seen by clicking on the link at the bottom of their story.
Vern Fiddler played parts of four seasons for the Admirals from 2002-2006, and was part of the Calder Cup championship winning team in 2004.
An undrafted free agent from Edmonton, Alberta, Fiddler signed the with Predators after splitting the 2001-02 season between the Roanoke Express (ECHL) and Norfolk Admirals (AHL). Fiddler made his NHL debut less than a month into the 2002-03 season, and proceeded split time between the Predators and the Admirals each season except for the NHL lockout year in 2004-05.
A center known for being responsible and effective in the defensive zone, Fiddler ranks 15th all-time in AHL Admirals goals scored (38), and 16th in points (97). After winning the Calder Cup in '04, Fiddler was a leader on the Admirals during the NHL lockout season, and finished third on the team in goals (20), and first in plus/minus (19).
When he first skated on the ice with the Milwaukee Admirals, Mike Santorelli had to live up to big offensive expectations.
A 6th-round draft choice by the Nashville Predators in 2004, Santorelli was always a big goal scorer. As a junior at Northern Michigan University, Santorelli led the CCHA in goals with 30 in 41 games. That total ranked third in the entire NCAA.
After three years with the Wildcats, Santorelli signed with the Preds and began his professional career with the Milwaukee Admirals. As a rookie, Santorelli appeared in all 80 regular season games with Milwaukee and finished fourth on the team with 21 goals.
A Georgia native Mark Mowers was a Milwaukee Admirals forward from 1998-2002. After going undrafted out of the University of New Hampshire, Mowers signed with the Nashville Predators in 1998. From the moment he signed he found himself between Milwaukee and Nashville quite frequently.
While playing for the Admirals, Mowers produced a stunning 151 points (69 goals and 82 assists) in 182 games. Mowers' best years with the Ads came from 2000-2002 when he picked up 89 points in 108 regular season games, including a goal in the 2000-01 playoffs.
"Mark could skate like the wind and if you gave him a sliver he took it and he could score," said Admirals General Manager Paul Fenton. "His goals were almost a throwback to the [Mike] Bossy-type of goals because everything that Mark did was shooting it off the rush. He had accuracy, he had velocity, he could just pick a corner and that was the thing with him is he was a threat once he got inside the blue line."
Nolan Yonkman was a rock solid, 6'6" 240 lbs, defenseman who played for the Admirals from 2006-10. During his four year tenure with the team he played 283 games, including 28 games in the Calder Cup Playoffs. He was a leader of the team, spending his first two seasons as an Assistant Captain and final two seasons as Team Captain. Yonkman was a vocal leader who stuck up for his teammates on the ice and mentored the younger members of the team away from the rink.
"As a new player coming into a new city, Nolan was one of those guys who took you under his wing," said former Admiral teammate Scott Ford. "He knew a lot of people in the community and was great at helping players get acclimated to both the locker room and the Milwaukee area. He was a great guy to get to know and someone that I looked up to in the organization."
A native of Kitchener, Ontario, Kevin Klein is a classic example of a player who refined his game in the AHL level to find success in the NHL. He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the second round (37th Overall) of what is generally considered one of the most talented draft classes of all-time, the 2003 NHL Draft. Klein would find himself drafted alongside future d-men teammates Ryan Suter (7th Overall) and Shea Weber (49th Overall).
"Kevin Klein was not always the biggest guy physically but very strong, a tremendous skater, and overall a great player," said former Admirals coach Claude Noel. "There was an adjustment period for Kevin the first couple of months in the AHL, but once he made those changes you could really see the growth spurt in him and the success that he was going to have. He had a steep learning curve and it really moved him up quickly, and he's turned himself into a very solid NHL player."