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ICEHOGS OPENING NIGHT ROSTER SET

By: Chris Etheridge
10/08/2008 1:24 PM - IceHogs players have 381 games of previous NHL experience

Rockford, Ill.- Chicago Blackhawks General Manager of Minor League Affiliates Mark Bernard announced Wednesday that the Rockford IceHogs line-up has been set for Friday’s opening game at 7:30 p.m. against the Quad City Flames at the Rockford MetroCentre.

New head coach Bill Peters’ roster features 10 players from the 2007-08 team, including one of the team’s original alternate captains and #3 overall draft pick in 2004, Cam Barker, as well as Rockford’s no. 1 goaltender from last year, Corey Crawford, and top goal scorer, Troy Brouwer.

The IceHogs offense could be a big factor in the upcoming season as it will feature two top AHL point scorers thanks to two summer trades. Center Pascal Pelletier was acquired from the Boston Bruins for center Martin St. Pierre. Pelletier had 75 points in 73 games with Providence in 2007-08 and skated in six games with Boston. Center Tim Brent joins the IceHogs, the result of a trade for defenseman Danny Richmond, after spending 2007-08 in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He had 61 points in 74 games with the Penguins and appeared in one game with Pittsburgh (NHL).

Aside from Barker, the IceHogs defensive corps will feature an all new set of names but not ones that are new to the AHL circuit or professional hockey. New acquisitions Andrew Archer, Aaron Johnson, Danny Groulx and Tim Hambly bring a combined 918 AHL games to Rockford. The IceHogs also have a combined 318 games of NHL experience, with Johnson (146 games) and Barker (81 games) leading the way.

Antti Niemi will join Crawford between the pipes. The Vantaa, Finland native was signed by the Blackhawks in May and was one of the last players to leave Blackhawks camp this week. Five of Rockford’s top contributors last season, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Hendry, Kris Versteeg, Colin Fraser and Jack Skille, have made the Chicago Blackhawks to start the season.

To finalize the opening day roster, goaltender Joe Fallon and defenseman Brennan Turner were sent to Fresno (ECHL). For the entire list of players, visit icehogs.com and look under the players section.

Next Home Game: Friday, Oct. 10 vs. Quad City Flames.  Game time is 7:30 p.m. The IceHogs begin its tenth season of professional hockey as the 2008-09 season gets underway.  The first 5,000 fans to the game will receive an IceHogs Magnet Schedule from Dental Dimensions, Speedway Auto Mall, Guerilla Graffix and WTVO.

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