NCAA men's hockey alumni will play a prominent role in the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic at the end of the month in Allentown, Pa.
Taking place at the same time as the NHL stars face off in Los Angeles, nearly half of the stars selected for the AHL contest are former student-athletes, including eight who played in the college ranks last season.
Canada will also be well represented among those 23 NCAA alums with five forwards and three defensemen hailing from north of the U.S. border.
The Canadian contingent of forwards includes Danton Heinen (Denver Pioneers) from Langley, B.C. of the Providence Bruins, Spencer Abbott (Maine Black Bears) from Hamilton, Ont. of the Rockford Icehogs, Matt Lorito (Brown Bears) from Oakville, Ont. of the Grand Rapid Griffens, A.J. Greer (Boston University Terriers) from Joliette, Que. of the San Antonio Rampage and Mark Jankowski (Providence Friars) from St. Catharines, Ont. of the Stockton Heat.
The defencemen are Devon Toews (Quinnipiac Bobcats) from Abbotsford, B.C. of the Bridgeport Sound, Brad Hunt (Bemidji State Beavers) from Ridge Meadows, B.C. of the Chicago Wolves and Brandon Montour (UMass Lowell River Hawks) from Brantford, Ont. of the San Diego Gulls.
Canada will be represented on three of the four divisional teams for the classic with the exception being the North Division.
Heinen and Toews will be suiting up for the Atlantic Division with Abbott, Hunt and Lorito skating with the Central Division. Greer, Jankowski and Montour are members of the Pacific Division squad.
Meanwhile on the same weekend at the Staples Center in L.A., nine former college players will be taking part in the NHL all-star event.
The list includes Jonathan Toews (North Dakota), Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College), Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin), Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin), Ryan Suter (Wisconsin), Justin Faulk (Minnesota Duluth), Duncan Keith (Michigan State), Ryan Kesler (Ohio State) and Kyle Okposo (Minnesota).
The AHL all-star weekend opens with a skills competition on Jan. 29 followed by the game on Jan. 30.
The other NCAA alumni taking part in the AHL event include:
Atlantic Division:Chris Bourque (Boston University), Hershey Bears; Travis Boyd (Minnesota), Hershey; Jake Guentzel (Omaha), W-B/Scranton Penguins; Zane McIntyre (North Dakota), Providence.
North Division: Casey Bailey (Penn State), Binghamton Senators; Charlie Lindgren (St. Cloud State), St. John's IceCaps; Cole Schneider (Connecticut), Rochester Americans; Matt Taormina (Providence), Syracuse Crunch.
Central Division: Kenny Agostino (Yale), Chicago; Jack Roslovic (Miami), Manitoba Moose; Robbie Russo (Notre Dame), Grand Rapids.
Pacific Division: Jonny Brodzinski (St. Cloud State), Ontario Reign; Troy Grosenick (Union), San Jose Barracuda; Vincent LoVerde (Miami), Ontario; Danny O'Regan (Boston University), San Jose.
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