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Rookie Backes Recalled by St. Louis Blues

Peoria, IL (December 19, 2006) - St. Louis Blues President John Davidson announced today that right wing David Backes has been recalled from the Peoria Rivermen, the Blues' American Hockey League affiliate. Backes is expected to make his NHL debut tonight in Pittsburgh.

Backes, 22, is in his first full professional season with Peoria, playing in 27 games, registering 11 points (nine goals, two assists) along with 34 penalty minutes. The 6-2, 200-pound forward skated in three games for the Blues during the preseason, posting two penalty minutes.

Backes, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, was originally the Blues second round selection, 62nd overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

On Friday, December 22, the Rivermen host the Grand Rapids Griffins at 7:30 p.m. It is a Coca-Cola/Insight Date Night. Fans may receive two (2) Upper Bowl tickets, two (2) Cokes and a tub of popcorn for just $25. The team will also commemorate the 1990-91 Rivermen International Hockey League (IHL) Turner Cup Championship and the still-world-record, 18-game professional winning streak by wearing replica 1990-91 replica jerseys, which will be auctioned off after the game to benefit the Children's Hospital of Illinois. U.S. Cellular's 25 Greatest Rivermen of All-Time continues with Steve Tuttle cards to the first 2,500 fans.
 

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San Jose recalls goaltender Dimitri Patzold from Worcester

San Jose recalls goaltender Dimitri Patzold from Worcester
12/19/06 - American Hockey League (AHL) Worcester Sharks

Worcester Sharks
SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Dimitri Patzold from the Worcester Sharks of the AHL.

Patzold has posted a 4-2-3 record in 10 games with Worcester this season with a 3.85 goals-against average and a .872 save percentage. He was recently recalled to Worcester from Fresno of the ECHL where he posted a 2-2-0 record with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.

The six-foot, 195-pound native of Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan was selected by San Jose in the fourth round (107th overall) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.
 

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Griffins Celebrate Holidays at Home

Break the Chain: After dropping three games in as many nights over the weekend, Grand Rapids will try to get back on track Wednesday at home against the Iowa Stars and coach Dave Allison, who served as bench boss for the expansion Griffins from 1996-98. The Griffins will then bookend Christmas with a home-and-home set against the Peoria Rivermen, beginning with a Friday visit to Illinois and concluding at Van Andel Arena on Dec. 26. For tomorrow's game against Iowa, fans who bring a new, unwrapped gift for donation to the Salvation Army Angel Tree program will receive a coupon for a free small Pepsi, and they can visit Meijer stores to pick up a Holiday Hockey 2-for-1 coupon that offers one complimentary upper bowl ticket when a ticket of equal value ($13) is purchased. For both home games over the next week, all college and high school students can purchase a lower bowl ticket for only $10 with a valid student ID.

Crossover Appeal: While Grand Rapids and Iowa compete in different divisions, Wednesday's clash will give one team a leg up in the early playoff race thanks to the AHL's crossover rule. If the eventual fifth-place team in the West Division finishes with more points than the fourth-place team in the North Division, it will cross over and compete in the North Division playoffs. The Griffins are tied with Toronto for fourth in the North with 28 points, while the Stars reside fifth in the West with the same point total.

Captain Logs NHL Debut: Griffins captain Matt Ellis was recalled by Detroit on Monday and made his NHL debut in the Red Wings' 4-3 loss at Columbus, skating six shifts over 4:55. Ellis, among Grand Rapids' leaders with 10 goals (T1st), 19 points (3rd) and nine assists (T4th), became the 83rd Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL.

Eight is Enough: In their first 825 regular season games played (through Nov. 13), the Griffins allowed eight goals on just two occasions, both against the IHL's Cincinnati Cyclones (Dec. 31, 1996 vs. CIN, 4-8; March 22, 1998 at CIN, 1-8). Now, Milwaukee has dented Grand Rapids for eight goals twice in the last 15 games and in two of the teams' last four meetings: Nov. 14 at home (1-8), and Dec. 17 on the road (5-8).

Homesick: Including two games during the 2006 Western Conference Finals, Milwaukee has won each of its last six visits to Van Andel Arena (April 15-Dec. 15, 2006), out-scoring the Griffins by a cumulative 28-10 count following Friday's 6-3 decision. Only two other opponents in Grand Rapids history have enjoyed such a run of success on the Griffins' ice: Chicago tallied a record seven straight wins (including two during the postseason) from April 2-Dec. 11, 2004, while the IHL's Detroit Vipers took six consecutive regular season visits from Dec. 31, 1997-March 19, 1999.

Kudos: Ryan Keller netted the first two-goal game of his AHL career in Friday's loss to Milwaukee, then added another marker in Sunday's road defeat to the Admirals...Jimmy Howard appeared in 16 straight games from Nov. 8-Dec. 15, surpassing his previous high of 14 consecutive games played set last season. Howard, whose 11 wins are tied for fourth in the AHL, is on pace to play in 66 contests, which would tie Joey MacDonald's franchise record established in 2004-05.

On Again, Off Again: Grand Rapids' penalty killers have been very streaky of late. They allowed a power play goal in 11 consecutive games - one shy of the franchise record - from Nov. 4-26, then shut out the opposition for 32 straight opportunities over five-plus games (Nov. 26-Dec. 9), before surrendering power play goals in each of the last four outings (Dec. 13-17).

Odds n' Ends: The Griffins surrendered 18 goals in their three weekend losses (Fri. - 3-6 vs. MIL; Sat. - 2-4 at PEO; Sun. - 5-8 at MIL), tying the third-largest three-game total in franchise history. They allowed 18 goals from Dec. 7-9, 2001, 19 from April 8-14, 1999, and 20 from Dec. 30, 1996-Jan. 3, 1997...The 13 goals scored against Jimmy Howard in his last two games (0-2, 7.80 GAA, 0.745%, 38-51) matched the total he surrendered in his previous seven decisions (5-1-1, 1.82 GAA, 0.944%, 220-233)...Grand Rapids is 10-2 when leading after two periods, 2-4-0-2 when tied and 0-8-2-0 when trailing...The Griffins posted a 12-5 record last season in games decided after regulation (6-1 in overtime, 6-4 in shootouts). So far this season, they are 2-4 (0-2 OT, 2-2 SO)...Grand Rapids' scoring differentials by period are plus-three in the first (32-29), plus-one in the second (29-28) and minus-15 in the third (23-38).

All-Star Voting Underway: Fan balloting for the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic is now underway at theahl.com and accessible through a home page link at griffinshockey.com. The players receiving the most votes by position will earn berths in the starting lineups of both the Canadian AHL All-Star team and the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team at the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic, to be held Jan. 28-29 in Toronto. A committee of AHL coaches will select the remaining All-Stars, and all 27 clubs will be represented on the final rosters. By completing the official ballot, fans will be entered to win various prizes, including the grand prize of a team-signed authentic 2007 AHL All-Star jersey. Ten second-prize winners will each win an autographed commemorative magazine from the event, and 10 third-prize winners will each receive an official 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic T-shirt. On-line fan balloting will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Scouting Report

Wed., Dec. 20 vs. Iowa Stars (14-15-0-0) - Van Andel Arena - 7 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 - B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 2-1-0-0-1 Overall, 2-0-0-0-0 Home. NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars. Head Coach: Dave Allison (2nd season). Notes: Allison coached the expansion Griffins to a 70-55-19 record from 1996-98...The home team won all four meetings last season...The Stars have dropped two straight to fall a game under 0.500...Marty Sertich ranks 10th in AHL rookie scoring with 22 points (8-14-22)...Former Griffin Greg Amadio (2004-06) is scoreless in 12 appearances with Iowa.

Fri., Dec. 22 at Peoria Rivermen (15-9-1-2) - Peoria Civic Center-Carver Arena - 8:30 p.m.

Tue., Dec. 26 vs. Peoria Rivermen - Van Andel Arena - 7 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 8:10 p.m. (Fri.) and 6:59 p.m. (Tue.) Web Cast: Video ($6 - B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: 0-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home, 0-1-0-0 Road. Third and fourth of eight meetings overall, second of four in both Grand Rapids and Peoria. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 3-3-0-0-0 Overall, 2-1-0-0-0 Home, 1-2-0-0-0 Road. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: Dave Baseggio (1st season). Notes: Baseggio played 15 regular season and 15 playoff games for the Griffins during the 1999-2000 season...Griffins right wing Brendan Brooks played three seasons in Peoria, scoring 27 points (14-13-27) for the Rivermen in 2005-06...Marek Schwarz is tied for third in the AHL with a 2.29 GAA.

This Week's Games

Wed., Dec. 20 Iowa Stars at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Fri., Dec. 22 GRIFFINS at Peoria Rivermen 8:30 p.m. WOOD/B2

Tue., Dec. 26 Peoria Rivermen at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD/B2

Last Week's Results

Wed., Dec. 13 GRIFFINS 2 at Milwaukee Admirals 1 SO 12-11-2-2, 28 pts. (4th, North Division)

Fri., Dec. 15 Milwaukee Admirals 6 at GRIFFINS 3 12-12-2-2, 28 pts. (4th)

Sat., Dec. 16 GRIFFINS 2 at Peoria Rivermen 4 12-13-2-2, 28 pts. (T4th)

Sun., Dec. 17 GRIFFINS 5 at Milwaukee Admirals 8 12-14-2-2, 28 pts. (T4th)
 

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Fukufuji Returns To Manchester

MANCHESTER, NH - The Manchester Monarchs, the primary affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, have recalled goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji from the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the ECHL, Monarchs Director of Hockey Operations Hubie McDonough announced today.

Fukufuji, 24, was recalled (emergency basis) by the Kings from the Monarchs on Friday and was assigned to Long Beach on Sunday. He dressed during Saturday's Kings-Dallas game at STAPLES Center and did not play.

With the Monarchs this season, he has not appeared in a game. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound native of Tokyo, Japan, was recalled by Manchester from the Reading Royals, the Kings/Monarchs ECHL affiliate, on November 30. He has a 3-3-0 record, a 3.19 goals-against-average and a .898 save-percentage in 10 appearances with the Royals this season.

Originally selected by the Kings in the eighth-round (238th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Fukufuji is just the second player born in Japan to ever be drafted (defenseman Hiroyuki Miura was drafted by Montreal in the 11th-round, 260th overall, in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft). Fukufuji has not appeared in an NHL game (no player born in Japan has played a game in the NHL).

The Monarchs travel to Massachusetts on Wednesday, December 20 to face-off with the Lowell Devils at 7:05 p.m. at the Tsongas Arena. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR-AM 610 and at -= Manchester Monarchs Hockey =- Home Page. Watch the game live on B2 Networks for just $6 per game. Log onto -= Manchester Monarchs Hockey =- Home Page and click on the link to B2 Networks ten minutes prior to each Monarchs game to watch the game live!
 

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Knights Host A Weekend Just For Kids

Wacky oversized inflatable animals and a spectacular indoor fireworks display. Both will be in abundant supply as the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights turn over the Civic Auditorium to their younger fans on the last weekend of 2006. The Knights will host the "Zooperstars", sponsored by Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and the Lozier Imax Theater on Friday, December 29th when they welcome the Iowa Stars. On Saturday, December 30th, the Knights do battle with the Peoria Rivermen. After the game, the fireworks continue with Nebraska's largest indoor fireworks display to celebrate Kids' New Years. Both games start at 7:00 p.m.

As part of the celebration, the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights are offering a ticket special. Fans who buy tickets to Friday's game with Iowa will receive an equal number of tickets to Saturday's game against Peoria. Tickets are subject to availability.

"With schools on vacation, we know that parents are going to be looking for family-friendly activities for their kids," said Ren Smith, Ak-Sar-Ben Knights' President. "The Zooperstars put on a terrific show, and the Kids' New Years fireworks show will have to be seen to be believed. Plus, our ticket special keeps both games affordable even for large families."

The Zooperstars are inflatable sports characters modeled after current and past athletes. The Zooperstars scheduled to appear on December 29th include Whale Gretzky, Bobby Orrangutang, Dennis Frogman, Clammy Sosa, Tiger Woodschuck and Snail Earnhardt, Jr. They will put on shows during the first and second intermissions and interact with the crowd.

On Saturday, the Kids' New Years celebration culminates in a post-game fireworks show. Kids will receive noise makers to get them in the festive mood. Following the game, kids and their parents will countdown to the "Kids' New Year". When the clock hits zero, the Knights will unleash a dramatic fireworks show set to music.

The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights play the first of three games this week tomorrow night when they host the Milwaukee Admirals at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, the San Antonio Rampage comes to Omaha for a 7:00 p.m. game. On Saturday, the Admirals are back for another 7:00 p.m. face off.

Tickets for all Ak-Sar-Ben Knights' games are on sale at the Omaha Civic Auditorium box office Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets also are available through all Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at (402) 422-1212. Kids 12 and under get in free with a paid adult on tickets purchased after 5:00 p.m. Other restrictions apply.
 

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Callahan to Rangers, Ozolinsh joins Pack

Callahan to Rangers, Ozolinsh joins Pack
12/19/06 - American Hockey League (AHL) Hartford Wolf Pack

Hartford Wolf Pack
New York, December 19, 2006 -- New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that forward Ryan Callahan has been recalled from the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) and defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh has been assigned to Hartford.

Callahan, 21, has skated in 25 games with Hartford (AHL) this season, registering 19 goals and eight assists for 27 points, along with a plus-six rating and 32 penalty minutes. In his first professional season, the 5-11, 185-pound forward leads the Wolf Pack in goals (19), power play goals (nine), points (27), and plus/minus (plus-six). His nine power play goals is currently tied for third in the league, while his 19 goals is tied for fourth among all AHL players. On December 1, Callahan made his NHL debut with the Rangers at Buffalo after being recalled from Hartford (AHL) on November 28.

Ozolinsh, 34, has picked up three assists and eight penalty minutes in 21 games with the Rangers this season. The 6-3, 220-pound defenseman has appeared in 21 of the last 27 games after missing the first seven games of the season due to off-season knee surgery.

The NHL's New York Rangers hockey club, currently in its 81st year of operation, is part of Madison Square Garden, L.P. Madison Square Garden, L.P. is owned by Cablevision Systems Corporation, and includes the New York Knicks (NBA); the New York Rangers (NHL); the New York Liberty (WNBA); the Hartford Wolf Pack (American Hockey League); MSG Entertainment; MSG Media, which is comprised of MSG and FSN New York; and the Madison Square Garden arena complex, located in the heart of the New York metropolitan area.
 

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Amerk players receive first NHL recalls of the season

(Rochester, NY)... Rochester Americans General Manager Jody Gage announced today that forwards Janis Sprukts, Anthony Stewart and Clarke MacArthur received their first recalls of the season. Sprukts and Stewart head to the Florida Panthers, while MacArthur leaves for Buffalo.

Sprukts is currently second on the Amerks with 27 points (7+20) in 25 games. The center has three goals and seven assists in his last five games. The five-game point streak is the longest of his career. The native of Riga, Latvia, was the Florida Panthers' eighth-round selection (234th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Stewart heads to Florida for the first time this season. In 12 games, he has five goals and seven assists. In his last game, Stewart chipped in two assists in Rochester's 10-4 win over Binghamton last Saturday. Last season, he played in only 10 NHL games and four AHL games due to a season-ending injury. With the Panthers he had two goals and one assist. The right wing was the Florida Panthers' first-round selection (25th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

MacArthur leads the Amerks with 34 points (12+22) in 26 games. The Lloydminster, Alberta, native has a five-game point streak (3+8) from December 5th to December 16th. Last Saturday, he notched five points (1+4) in a 10-4 win over Binghamton. The left wing was the Buffalo Sabres' third-round selection (74th overall) in the 2003 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

The Amerks complete their five-game homestand this Friday night, before hitting the road for one game before the Christmas holiday. Rochester (20-6-1-0, 41 points) is in first place in the North Division and second overall in the Western Conference.

The Amerks will take on the Toronto Mariles in a 7:35 p.m. contest on Friday, December 22nd at The Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. Santa Claus will be making a special appearance at the game. Wendy's - buy one, get one ticket free vouchers will be available for this contest. Fans can pick up their vouchers at any participating Wendy's. The game will be broadcast live on Hot Talk 1280-AM WHTK, whtk.com and B2 Networks. It will also be televised live on TWSN.

On Saturday, December 23rd, the Amerks will head to Binghamton to take on the Senators at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena at 7:05 p.m. This game will be broadcast live on Hot Talk 1280-AM WHTK, whtk.com and B2 Networks. The contest will also be televised tape delayed on TWSN.
 

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Flames Recall Moss and Boyd From Knights

The Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights announced today that the Calgary Flames, their National Hockey League affiliate, have recalled right wing Dave Moss and center Dustin Boyd. The announcement was made by Flames' General Manager Darryl Sutter. Both players will join the Flames for their road game tonight against the Los Angeles Kings. Additionally, the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights recalled center Aki Seitsonen from the Las Vegas Wranglers, their affiliate in the ECHL.

Moss will be making his NHL debut when he plays in his first game with Calgary. The native of Lavonia, Michigan is the Knights' second-leading scorer this year, earning seven goals and 12 assists for 19 points in 27 games. He also has 22 penalty minutes. Last season, Moss was the Knights' leading rookie scorer with 21 goals and 27 assists for 48 points and 28 penalty minutes. He played in just 63 games, his season cut short by an injury in mid-March. Moss is originally the Flames' seventh round pick, 220th overall, in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. He is in his second pro season out of the University of Michigan.

Boyd is making his second appearance in Calgary this season. He made his NHL debut on November 1st at Detroit. He played in two games for the Flames before being re-assigned to the Knights. The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba leads the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in scoring with 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points in 25 games. He has a team-leading seven powerplay goals and three game-winning goals. The Flames drafted Boyd in the third round, 98th overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft. This is his first professional season after four years of junior hockey with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Seitsonen has appeared in 24 games for the Wranglers this season, scoring nine goals and eight assists for 17 points. He also has a team-leading four powerplay goals. The native of Riihimaki, Finland played in seven games for the Knights at the end of the 2005-06 season, registering no points and two penalty minutes. Before turning pro, he played three seasons for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL, totaling 60 goals and 67 assists for 127 points in 204 games. Seitsonen is the Flames' fourth round pick, chosen 118th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

The Ak-Sar-Ben Knights play the first of three games this week tomorrow night when they host the Milwaukee Admirals at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, the San Antonio Rampage comes to Omaha for a 7:00 p.m. game. On Saturday, the Admirals are back for another 7:00 p.m. face off.

Tickets for all Ak-Sar-Ben Knights' games are on sale at the Omaha Civic Auditorium box office Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets also are available through all Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at (402) 422-1212. Kids 12 and under get in free with a paid adult on tickets purchased after 5:00 p.m. Other restrictions apply.
 

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Penguins acquire Brookbank from Boston, Assigned to Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Pittsburgh Penguins have acquired defenseman Wade Brookbank from the Boston Bruins for future considerations, it was announced on Tuesday. Brookbank has subsequently been assigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

A 6-4, 225 pound native of Lanigan, Saskatchewan, Brookbank has appeared in seven games with Boston this season, recording one goal and 15 penalty minutes. He also spent four games with the Providence Bruins (AHL), going scoreless with 15 penalty minutes.

Brookbank, 29, appeared in an NHL career-high 32 games with the Vancouver Canucks last season, recording three points (1+2) and 81 penalty minutes. He has appeared in a total of 68 career NHL games with the Bruins, Canucks and Nashville Predators, recording six points (4+2) and 229 penalty minutes.

Brookbank has played 167 American Hockey League games with Grand Rapids, Binghamton, Milwaukee, Manitoba and Providence, combining for seven points (1+6) and 714 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 29 games with Orlando of the International Hockey League and 114 games with Oklahoma City of the Central Hockey League.

Individual and group tickets for all Penguins home games, as well as special ticket packages, are on sale now. For ticket information, contact the Penguins at 570-208-7367.
 

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Backes Collects First NHL Point Debut with Blues

Peoria, Ill. (December 19, 2006) - Rookie right wing David Backes netted his first National Hockey League (NHL) point, an assist, in his first NHL shift with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday in the team's 4-1 road win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Backes was recalled from the Peoria Rivermen, the Blues' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, earlier in the day.

On the goal, Backes, 22, fought the puck free in the right-wing corner of the Penguins zone, getting it to right wing Radek Dvorak. Dvorak set up center Doug Weight for the team's first tally 44 seconds into the game. Backes - the 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Blaine, Minnesota - played 10:13 over 15 shifts and also finished with a +1 plus/minus for the contest.

Backes, selected by the Blues in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, tallied 11 points (9g, 2a) in 27 games for the Rivermen to open the season. He is second on the team with seven power play goals behind the team's leading scorer, center Trent Whitfield.

On Friday, December 22, the Rivermen host the Grand Rapids Griffins at 7:30 p.m. It is a Coca-Cola/Insight Date Night. Fans may receive two (2) Upper Bowl tickets, two (2) Cokes and a tub of popcorn for just $25. The team will also commemorate the 1990-91 Rivermen International Hockey League (IHL) Turner Cup Championship and the still-world-record, 18-game professional winning streak by wearing replica 1990-91 replica jerseys, which will be auctioned off after the game to benefit the Children's Hospital of Illinois. U.S. Cellular's 25 Greatest Rivermen of All-Time continues with Steve Tuttle cards to the first 2,500 fans.
 

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Aeros.com Blogs: CD Planning

Aeros resident comedians Alex Leavitt (rookie center) and Rick Bronwell (equipment manager) continue their Aeros.com blogs.

Rick Bronwell

I don't like technology. Computer just crashed and I lost this entire blog. Not sure it'll be as good the second time around, so if I'm not up to my usual standards...

This whole CD thing's taken off a lot more than what I expected, or what Ben Thomson thought. It started off as and idea I said to him, he said awesome let's do it and I wrote it in my last blog. Courtney Eidman from Houston Aeros Charities has taken it and run with it. So many people are offering studio time. I'm thinking instead of a six-song demo, maybe we'll do a 12-song LP because there's a lot of people interested. We're going to have Reitzee do a couple cameos on backup guitar. He can shred. I hear we may even have a gig or two in the future.

Anybody out there have a name for us...I had on in the car the other day but it went away. Anyway, anybody that can come up with a good name email it to Ryan Stanzel. You like today's picture? All of us artists today really owe it to Hall & Oates. We're also planning a cover shoot. This thing is going crazy. Any requests for songs?

On the equipment side of things, Emmerson and Albers came up from Beaumont for a couple days of practices. I swear my old assistant Phil Shipp, now the head guy in Beaumont, talks to their coach and asks to send guys up here who have equipment problems to save his budget. I had to replace some kneecaps on Emmerson's gear. I stitched up rosa's skates last time. I'm just going to have to jab Phil while he can. He's going a good job down there from what I hear. But he doesn't have a blog.

So Donny White and I were going to drive down to Beaumont last Friday to watch the Wildcatters since we couldn't move into Toyota Center until late, but Donny backed out on me, so I got left sitting around by myself while he hung out at BW3's. That punk. I was thinking of going on my own, but I don't know if Heather would have liked that. And I need to clarify about her, she's not as bad as I talk about her...most of the time!

I want to send a big thank you John, the manager at Bucee's, and Julie from Pappa La Rosa's. She saw my last blog (I told you everyone reads it), and came up and told me that her cousin owns all the Bucee's. Lucky guy. John was gracious enough to hook us up with T-shirts for the team and a free lunch for Donny and I. We're equipment guys, we like to eat, we know our food. Need a place to eat? Email me.

Quesada's mask finally came in. A nice paint job by Mike Myers in Worcester. I'm a little disappointed we can't have the red one anymore. He's had that mask since '96, it says on the inside of the mask. He came here with it black, but I had to paint it red. Pretty good for my first paint job too.

We're going to have some equipment seminars with the help of Jeremy Burson from the front office. We have a machine here that cleans gear with O-Zone and makes it smell good. It kills bacteria and staph infections. We're going to try to get the hockey dads and moms to use it. Contact Jeremy if it's something you'd be interested in attending, they are setting up some dates now.

We're going to Kansas City for Christmas. We'll pack up the gear after Friday's game and bring it back to Sugar Land. Then we'll drive 12 hours to KC, spend Saturday and Sunday there, drive back early Monday and have our own Christmas Monday night.

My mother's ankle is doing better. I'm not sure we'll have to send Heather up there. Thanks to all who showed concern for my mom.

Leavitt...I'm not going to chirp him, I'm going to let him take the low road.

Alex Leavitt

"Stoney, was Leavitt really driving around my car while I was in Minnesota"?

How do I even word this? So Matt Foy fought three-time Stanley Cup winner Mike Keane from Manitoba on Saturday. Usually when a hockey fight goes on and you're on the ice, you're concerned for your teammate, hoping everything goes well and cheering for the guy. I found myself laughing hysterically when Foy was fighting him. It was the equivalent of me fighting my dad. He's been in league since '87, which I think is pretty close to year ('83) Matt Foy was born. It was all in all a pretty funny experience. It's pretty safe to say the Moose don't like Erik Reitz much, either.

I heard a little discussion about the CD. Benny is pretty romantic. He has a nice soft side for the ladies. He's been known to bring grown men to tears. I'm sure Rick's talented, too. I'm excited to hear them play. I hope to get CD at some point.

Peter Ratchuk is living at home by himself this week. He's 30 years old, his wife has been gone 24 hours, and I walked into his place last night and I saw Chinese food on the wall. Ratchuk wants to go see Rocky VI, to get out on the town. I figured why not, he's the same age as Rocky, so he can see someone he relates too.

Josh Harding got a new '07 Escalade. He let me drive it once. I took full advantage of the opportunity and drove by a local watering hole. I pulled through the parking lot, and there was a little line outside the front. I tried to make sure every female in line saw me drive it. I am the guy who does like to steal cars from others and try to use it for my romantic escapades.

Doesn't Donny White look like Erik Reitz? I get the two confused on a regular basis. Reitz sits next to me in the locker room, and I was calling him Donny for the first 20 minutes today. He didn't answer. I thought he just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It's like we have the spitting image of twins in the room.

Some guys are getting pretty worked up over this blog. I've had to watch my back on a regular basis. Especially Shawn Belle. He's walking a fine line.
 

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Chanse Fitzpatrick released by Binghamton

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The Binghamton Senators today released winger Chanse Fitzpatrick from his American Hockey League contract.

Fitzpatrick, a 22-year-old-native of Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, had one goal and 37 penalty minutes in twelve games with Binghamton.

Binghamton's next game is on Friday, Dec. 22, when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phantoms at 7:05 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets at the following locations: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena box office (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.), Binghamton Senators executive office, third floor of the Arena (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on game days until the end of the second period.), The Official Site of the Binghamton Senators : or by calling (607) 722-SENS.

Catch all the action LIVE on Q107 FM (106.7 or 104.5), via webcast or B2 Networks streaming video cast at The Official Site of the Binghamton Senators :.
 

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Bears kick off busy holiday stretch tonight in Albany 12/20/06 - American Hockey Lea

A span of eight games in the next 11 nights to close out 2006 begins tonight in New York's Capital District as the BEARS face-off with the Albany River Rats. HERSHEY begins the grueling run just one point out of first place in the East Division race.

Alexandre Giroux is expected to dress tonight for HERSHEY, one day after making his Washington Capitals debut. Giroux, wearing uniform number 39 for Washington, played nearly seven minutes Tuesday in a 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was assigned Wednesday morning, and is expected to be available in Albany Wednesday. Giroux was originally recalled Tuesday prior to HERSHEY'S departure to New York.

Frederic Cassivi is expected to draw the start in goal tonight for the BEARS. Cassivi stands one win away from moving into a ninth place tie on the AHL's all-time win list. Cassivi has 202 wins, while former BEARS backstop Neil Little is at 203.

A reminder that tickets remain for Saturday's home game with Philadelphia at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 508-BEAR. The wives and girlfriends of BEARS players will be selling Christmas ornaments autographed by the players, with all proceeds being donated to Penn State Children's Hospital's Child Life Services. Tables will be set up behind sections 119 and 106, so be sure to get your one-of-a-kind ornament to hang on your tree right before Christmas. It's a great cause, and a great gift idea for the BEARS fan on your list.

Tonight's game can be heard via the BEARS Radio Network (100.1 FM, 1490-AM and 960-AM). John Walton has the call of the action from Albany beginning with the pre-game show at 6:40 p.m.
 

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Stars help local youth

DES MOINES, IA - Iowa Stars President John Pettit is proud to announce that, thanks to various Iowa Stars sponsors, Season Ticket Holders and fans, the Iowa Stars Kids' Night Out efforts is sending over 1100 children to the Iowa Stars Friday, December 22nd game against Milwaukee.

Designed to benefit children at various Des Moines area charities, Kid's Night Out is a program in which the Stars asked Season Ticket Holders, Sponsors and local businesses to make either a monetary and/or ticket donation for underprivileged youths who would otherwise not have the opportunity to attend a game. The Stars in turn, matched each donation made and doubled the amount of tickets that were donated to the specific charities. Each donor was able to designate the charity of their choice or allowed the Stars to choose the charity for them. The Stars received donations from over 50 different companies and individuals.

"With 1100 tickets that were made available to these local charities, we are proud of our fans and the local business community and their support of this new Iowa Stars community program", commented Iowa Stars President, John Pettit. "Their generosity has helped provide these children with a special night out and hopefully a more enjoyable holiday season. We are grateful to our Season Ticket Holders, sponsors and all of those that donated and helped us make this a successful event".

Some of the 25 local Des Moines-area charities that benefited from the Stars first-ever Kids' Night Out event included: Blank Children's Hospital, Camp Fire Boys & Girls, Willkie House, Urban Dreams, and YWCA FaDDS.

The Stars have planned a second Kids' Night Out for Saturday, March 24th against the Milwaukee Admirals.

IOWA STARS INFO: The Stars wrap-up their four-game road trip with a Wednesday evening game in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Game time is 6:00 PM CST. They return to Wells Fargo Arena on Friday, December 22nd. The Dec. 22nd game is a 4 for $40 night. Get four $21 tickets for only $40! In addition, the first 1,500 fans will receive a FREE Iowa Stars Santa hat. Doors open for all home games one hour before face-off. Bring a group or hold your child's birthday at a Stars game! All ticketing information can be obtained by calling 515-23-STARS or by visiting IowaStarsHockey.com.
 

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Lapierre returns to Bulldogs

Lapierre returns to Bulldogs
12/20/06 - American Hockey League (AHL) Hamilton Bulldogs

Hamilton Bulldogs
MONTREAL, QC - The Montreal Canadiens announced today that the club has reassigned forward Maxim Lapierre to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League.

Lapierre, 21, was recalled by Montreal on December 11th and appeared in four games with the Canadiens, posting four points (3-1-4) and a plus-5 rating. The 6-foot-2, 197-pound centreman registered his first-career NHL point, an assist, on December 12th versus the Boston Bruins and his first-career NHL goal on December 14th against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

At the time of his recall, Lapierre had accumulated 19 points (8-11-19), a plus-8 rating and 49 penalty minutes in 26 games with Hamilton. A native of St-Leonard, Quebec, Lapierre registered his first-career AHL hat trick on November 26th against the Milwaukee Admirals in a 6-1 Bulldogs win.

Lapierre will join the Bulldogs in time for tonight's game in Winnipeg, against the Manitoba Moose.

In operation since 1936, the American Hockey League is the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. Over 80 percent of NHL players are AHL graduates, and more than 350 AHL players were recalled to the NHL during the 2005-2006 season alone.

The Bulldogs return to action at 8:30 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, December 20th) against the Manitoba Moose at MTS Centre. Fans can join Derek Wills and Aaron Gogishvili for the call of tonight's game on the flagship station of the Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Network, 820 CHAM "The Legend," beginning with the Park's Furniture Pre-Game Show at 8:10 p.m. Eastern Time. Fans can also listen or watch at Hamilton Bulldogs :: Bulldogs by clicking on the 'B2 Networks' or '820 CHAM' icon on the 'Dogs website.

The 'Dogs next home game is on Friday, December 22nd at Copps Coliseum against the Albany River Rats at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for all 'Dogs home games (except home game #32) are available at the Copps Coliseum Box Office, any Ticketmaster outlet, online at Official Ticketmaster site. Tickets for Concerts, Sports, Arts, Theater, Family, Events, more, or through charge-by-phone at 905-527-7666.

• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
 

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Rampage to give away $500 to lucky winner Thursday

SAN ANTONIO (December 19, 2006) - The San Antonio Rampage, the top affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, will be giving away $500 to one lucky winner at this Thursday's game as part of their "College Nights".

The Rampage will face the Chicago Wolves at the AT&T Center at 7 p.m.

Students who show their college or university ID at the AT&T Center box office can purchase a ticket to the game and receive a hot dog, soda and chips for only $9.95.

Students must register to win the money, which will go towards books for the spring semester. The first 100 college students to register inside the AT&T Center's east entrance will receive a free Pizza Hut buffet coupon and must be present to win the grand prize.

Thursday's game will be the fourth of five "College Nights" for the Rampage. The last night will take place on January 4 when the Rampage host the Syracuse Crunch at 7 p.m. So far, the Rampage have given away $50 gift cards to HEB, Valero and Simon Malls, a $250 gift card to Best Buy and roundtrip airfare to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies.

For all others, tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, by calling Ticketmaster at (210) 225-TEAM (8326), or by visiting the team's website at San Antonio Rampage - Home as well as the AT&T Center box office.
 

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Pirates Team Up with Salvation Army to Spread Holiday Spirit

PORTLAND, ME - On Tuesday, December 19th Pirates players delivered gifts to families in need during the Holiday Season. The Salvation Army provided adoptee families to the Portland Pirates through the Salvation Army Christmas Center. Pirate players Zenon Konopka and Colby Genoway encouraged the entire team to donate to the four local families. In all, 21 players on the team provided gifts for the families.

Zenon Konopa, Aaron Rome, Pierre Parenteau, Brett Skinner, Kent Huskins, Colby Genoway and Trevor also purchased and deliver gifts for another family. Tim Brent and Curtis Glencross also adopted their own family and Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen and Eric Weinrich both supported a family. The Pirates donated close to $1000 for the needy families this Holiday Season.

"We really feel a part of this great community and we are excited to be a part of it and unfortunately there are less fortunate people in the community and anytime we can reach out and help, it's a win-win situation. All the players on the team have played a role in donating the gifts and the guys have been really excited about backing this effort as much as they can and we we're very happy to deliver the gifts," said Pirates forward Zenon Konopka.

"The Salvation Army is extremely grateful to the Portland Pirates for participating in this generous Holiday activity by giving back to those most in need in our community. The Portland Pirates have been wonderful friends of The Salvation Army over the years, and this is just another example of how they continue to help," stated Captain Andrew Ferreira, Corps Officer.

The Salvation Army directly touches the lives of thousands of people and has been serving the Greater Portland Communities for over 100 years. As the world's largest non-profit charity organization, The Salvation Army meets the humanitarian needs of people in need, guiding them to physical, mental and spiritual betterment. Throughout the State of Maine, The Salvation Army exists as a catalyst in helping people change their lives for the better.
 

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REO Speedwagon to perform at Admirals Game March 2nd

Milwaukee, WI- Milwaukee Admirals President Jon Greenberg announced today that multi-platinum recording artist REO Speedwagon will perform after the Admirals game on Friday, March 2nd versus the Hamilton Bulldogs. The concert will begin shortly after the conclusion of the 7:00 pm game.

REO Speedwagon has been recording hits and playing to sold-out arenas since the 1970s. They have released over 15 studio albums and 20 compilation albums and have seen countless singles hit the top-40. Their most successful album, Hi Infidelity, was released in 1980 and featured singles "Take It On The Run" and "Keep On Loving You." The record spent an amazing 65 weeks on the charts, including 32 weeks in the Top Ten and 15 weeks at Number One.

REO followed Hi Infidelity up with albums Good Trouble in 1982 and Wheels Are Turnin' in 1984, both of which were commercial hits and cracked the Top Ten on the charts. "Can't Fight this Feeling," the second single released on Wheels, made it to the top of the Billboard Top 100 in March of 1985.

The band is currently comprised of lead singer Kevin Cronin, keyboard player Neal Doughty, who is an original member of the band, bass player Bruce Hall, drummer Bryan Hitt, and lead Guitarist Dave Amato. REO has spent the last few years touring with other classic rock bands such as Journey, Styx, Foreigner, and Fleetwood Mac.

The concert is free to attend with an Admirals game ticket. Admirals tickets start at just $15 and groups of ten or more people receive a minimum of $2 off each ticket. For more information please contact the Admirals office at (414) 227-0550.

The Admirals begin a three game road trip tonight with a 7:00 pm game at Omaha. The team's next home game is on Tuesday, December 26th when the Ads take on the Chicago Wolves at 7:00 pm at the Bradley Center. The first 4,000 kids 14 and under will receive a Culver's Root Beer Mug. In addition, Wisconsin native and NASCAR star Matt Kenseth will be at the game and Pat McCurdy will perform before and after the game. Also, tickets in the upper level are just $6, courtesy of FOX 6.
 

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B-Sens sign defenseman Jean-Francois David

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - The Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League today announced that they have signed defenseman Jean-Francois David to a 25-game professional tryout agreement.

David, a native of Montreal, Quebec, has three goals, 20 assists and 57 penalty minutes in 19 games with Texas (ECHL) this season.

The 24-year-old also collected one assist and two penalty minutes in one game with Manitoba (AHL) this season.

Binghamton's next game is on Friday, Dec. 22, when they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phantoms at 7:05 p.m.

The Senators return home on Saturday, Dec. 23 to host Rochester. Fans can purchase tickets at the following locations: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena box office (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.), Binghamton Senators executive office, third floor of the Arena (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on game days until the end of the second period.), The Official Site of the Binghamton Senators : or by calling (607) 722-SENS.

Catch all the action LIVE on Q107 FM (106.7 or 104.5), via webcast or B2 Networks streaming video cast at The Official Site of the Binghamton Senators :.
 

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Moose's Keane, Griffins' Miller named team captains for 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. ... American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that Mike Keane of the Manitoba Moose and Kip Miller of the Grand Rapids Griffins will serve as playing captains for the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic in Toronto next month.

Captains for the American Hockey League All-Star teams are selected by the league in recognition of their outstanding service and leadership to the AHL.

Making his first career AHL All-Star Classic appearance, forward Mike Keane has appeared in more than 1,300 games during his 19-year professional career, including 1,161 in the National Hockey League. Keane made his professional debut with the Sherbrooke Canadiens during the 1987 postseason, helping them to the Calder Cup Finals, and later went on to win three Stanley Cup championships with Montreal (1993), Colorado (1996) and Dallas (1999). A Winnipeg native, Keane has recorded four goals and six assists in 31 games for the Moose this season and is tied for the team lead in plus/minus rating (+4). He will captain the Canadian AHL All-Star team.

Kip Miller has played 1,195 professional games over 17 seasons, totaling 398 goals and 706 assists for 1,104 points, and is currently the leading scorer on the Grand Rapids Griffins with 31 points in 30 contests. Miller will be making his first career AHL All-Star Classic appearance; he was voted to the starting lineup in 2002, but missed the event due to NHL recall. Miller, whose NHL career includes 449 games with eight clubs, was named MVP of the 1998 IHL All-Star Game as well as that league's 1995 Turner Cup Playoffs. A native of Lansing, Mich., and cousin of two-time AHL All-Star Ryan Miller, Kip will captain the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star team.

Previous players honored as AHL All-Star team captains include Eric Healey, Jimmy Roy, Brad Tiley, Craig Darby, Travis Richards, John Slaney, Randy Cunneyworth, Ken Gernander, current NHL head coaches Peter Laviolette and John Stevens and American Hockey League Hall of Famer Jody Gage.

Of the 394 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 92 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Daniel Briere, Jonathan Cheechoo, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Ray Emery, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Ryan Miller, Dwayne Roloson, Marc Savard, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Steve Sullivan and Kyle Wellwood.

The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will take place at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, home of the AHL's Marlies. The event features the 2007 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 28 (7:00 ET) and the 2007 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 29 (7:00 ET), and will be televised live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and on a network of regional broadcast partners in the United States.
 
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