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Worcester Sharks Captain Ryan Vesce named AHL All-Star for PlanetUSA

January 7, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Worcester Sharks News Release

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... The American Hockey League announced today the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team roster for the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications, to be played later this month at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass.

The team comprises 24 players - 13 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders - born outside of Canada; the Canadian team was announced on Tuesday (release). AHL fans determined the starting lineups via on-line balloting at, while a committee of AHL coaches selected the remainder of the rosters. All 29 AHL teams are represented by at least one All-Star.

Among the members of the PlanetUSA team are 19 first-time AHL All-Stars, including rookies Nikita Filatov of the Syracuse Crunch, Bobby Sanguinetti of the Hartford Wolf Pack, Jonas Junland of the Peoria Rivermen, Yannick Weber of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Mattias Karlsson of the Binghamton Senators, Jeff Frazee of the Lowell Devils and Nathan Gerbe and Tim Kennedy of the Portland Pirates. Hershey Bears forward Keith Aucoin has been selected to his fourth consecutive AHL All-Star Classic, and PlanetUSA captain Rory Fitzpatrick of the Rochester Americans will be making his third All-Star appearance and his first since 1998.

Because the Chicago Wolves won the Calder Cup championship in 2008, their current staff of head coach Don Granato and assistants Jason Christie and Wendell Young will serve as the coaches for the PlanetUSA team. John Anderson was promoted to the Atlanta Thrashers after guiding the Wolves to the title last spring.

The 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League competing in the 2009 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 25 (4:00 p.m. ET), and the 2009 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 26 (7:00 p.m. ET). The event will be televised nationally in the United States and Canada.

Of the 455 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 94 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Dan Boyle, Brian Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Rick DiPietro, Jiri Hudler, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Tomas Vokoun.

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