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Brendan Smith selected for AHL All-Star Classic

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith has been selected to play for the Western Conference AHL All-Star Team at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, which will be held Jan. 30-31 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

The first rookie defenseman in Griffins history to be chosen for an all-star game, Smith currently ranks among the league’s leaders with eight goals (T5th among defensemen) and 22 points (T9th among rookies, T14th among defensemen) despite missing the last four games due to injury. In addition, his 14 assists through 36 games tie for fourth on the club, while his plus-four rating places sixth.

The 21-year-old Smith, who has already enjoyed five multi-point outings and a pair of four-game point streaks this season, joins a distinguished list of defensemen who’ve represented the Griffins in all-star games: Jakub Kindl (2009), Jonathan Ericsson (2008), Derek Meech (2007), Niklas Kronwall (2005 and 2004), Travis Richards (2004 and 2001 IHL), John Gruden (2002 and 2000 IHL), Joel Kwiatkowski (2001 IHL) and Kerry Huffman (1998 IHL).

A native of Mimico, Ontario, Smith was the Detroit Red Wings’ first choice (27th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, he capped off a spectacular three-year collegiate career at Wisconsin with selections to the WCHA First All-Star Team, the NCAA West First All-American Team, and the NCAA Championship All-Tournament Team. Also chosen as the WCHA Defensive Player of the year and a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, Smith helped lead the Badgers to an appearance in the championship game of the NCAA Frozen Four in Detroit, following a regular season in which he paced all NCAA defensemen and tied for second overall in the WCHA with 52 points (15-37—52) in 42 games.

Smith will be joined on the ice in Hershey by four former Griffins: forwards Alexandre Giroux (Oklahoma City) and Jeremy Williams (Connecticut), and defensemen Garrett Stafford (San Antonio) and Clay Wilson (Rochester). In addition, former Griffins defenseman and current Peoria head coach Jared Bednar will serve as a co-coach for the Western Conference squad.

Both the 2011 AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, Jan. 30 (3 p.m.) and the 2011 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, Jan. 31 (7 p.m.) will be televised live nationally in the United States and Canada.

For the article and a complete list of players selected: griffinshockey.com

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