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By: Chris Etheridge
Both are set to appear in first AHL All-Star Classic

Rockford, Ill.- The Rockford IceHogs and American Hockey League announced on Thursday that center Mark Cullen and Right Wing Jack Skille have been named to the PlanetUSA All-Star team.

This is the first professional all-star appearance for both players.  The 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic will be held Jan. 18-19, 2010 in Portland, Maine.

In his first year with Rockford and eighth year in professional hockey, Cullen, 31, leads the IceHogs in goals (12), assists (17) and points (29) having yet to miss a game for the IceHogs in 2009-10.  His 29 points is tied for 15th in the AHL.  He has seven multi-point games including three three-point contests this season and leads the team with 12 points on the power play, notching four power-play goals. He is also tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals.

The Moorhead, Minnesota native has appeared in 482 professional games with 450 of those coming in the AHL.  The undrafted pivot has recorded 129 goals and 225 assists over six different AHL teams.  He has played 32 games (7g-9a-16pts) in the National Hockey League, 29 of which came with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Skille, 22, is in his third season with the IceHogs.  He has recorded 22 points (10 goals and 12 assists) in 26 games after starting the season with the Blackhawks.  In his last 13 games, Skille has recorded seven multi-point games (7g-7a-14pts) and leads the team with eight multi-point contests.  The winger has also appeared in five games with the Blackhawks, recording one goal and one assist.

The Madison, Wisconsin native was the #7 overall pick (round 1) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.  He has recorded 50 goals and 59 assists in 151 games in the AHL, 142 of which have come with the IceHogs.  He is the IceHogs AHL career leader in goals and fifth on the team’s all-time list with 46.  He recorded his 100th point in an IceHogs uniform on Sunday against the Chicago Wolves at the Allstate Arena.

Skille has also appeared in 29 career games with the Chicago Blackhawks over the last three seasons, recording five goals and three assists.

In their third year in the American Hockey League, the Rockford IceHogs have had five players named to the AHL All-Star Classic.  Center Martin St. Pierre and Defenseman Cam Barker were named in 2008, though Barker did not play in the game due to recall to the Blackhawks.  In 2009, Petri Kontiola served as Rockford’s only representative to the two-day event.

Next Home Game: Thursday, Dec. 31 vs. Houston Aeros. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Celebrate the New Year as the Rockford IceHogs take on the Houston Aeros for the first time at the Rockford MetroCentre. The IceHogs will be giving away five pairs of Chicago Blackhawks suite tickets to the Blackhawks game on Sunday, Jan. 10 at the United Center. Don’t forget your skates as the IceHogs will host a postgame skate on the MetroCentre’s ice and fans can watch the ball drop from New York City at 11 p.m. on the big screen.

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