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Aces Sign Ryan Bast, Nolan Graham

October 3, 2003 - ECHL (ECHL) - Alaska Aces News Release

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The parade of signings continues in the Last Frontier as the Aces have come to terms with veteran defenseman Ryan Bast and rookie winger Nolan Graham. Bast will fill the fourth and final “veteran” (288 or more pro games) spot on the Aces roster.

Just 28 of Bast’s 493 games of professional experience have come in the ECHL, as the longtime American Hockey League standout has often flirted with the NHL despite not being drafted coming out of juniors in the Western Hockey League. The 6-3, 215-pounder from Regina, Saskatchewan was signed as a free agent by Philadelphia in 1998 after earning second team all-star honors while a member of the Saint John Flames during the 1997-98 campaign, when he had 11 points (3g-8a) and 187 penalty minutes.

Bast was called up by the Flyers during the 1998-99 season and registered an assist in two NHL games before returning to Philadelphia’s AHL affiliate, the Phantoms. He accumulated 21 points (1g-20a) and 358 PIM during his two full seasons with the Phantoms before moving on to other AHL stops in Hartford, Lowell, and a second stint with the Phantoms last year.

Bast actually suited up for three different teams during the 2002-03 campaign, finishing with combined totals of one goal, four assists, and 107 PIM in 74 games. Only once in his seven professional seasons has the durable 28-year-old failed to appear in at least 71 games. Bast briefly played for his new coach, Alaska’s Davis Payne, with Pee Dee in 2001-02, when he had four assists in 16 games before being promoted to Lowell.

“Ryan has been one of the AHL’s top stay-at-home defensemen for a long time,” said Payne. “He’s rock solid in his own zone and is a heart-and-soul type of guy in the locker room.”

Graham hails from the same hometown as Alaska goaltender Dan Murphy (Nanaimo, B.C.) and arrives fresh from NCAA Division I R.P.I., in Troy, N.Y. Graham, who will turn 24 this December, finished third on the Engineers last season with 23 points on seven goals and 16 assists. He completed his collegiate career with 77 points (27g-50a) in 140 games.

Training camp begins at the Tesoro Sports Centre Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and Monday at 9:00 a.m. before moving to Ben Boeke on Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. The Aces open the regular season with a six-game homestand, as Fresno arrives for the first of a three-game set October 24 at 7:00 p.m. Alaska will play host to the Trenton Titans for a two-game exhibition series at Sullivan Oct. 10-11. Admission to the exhibition games for full season ticket holders is free of charge. For more information, please call 258-ACES.

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