01/04/2018 1:57 PM
Article By: Chris Robinson
ROCKFORD, Ill. – The American Hockey League today announced that defenseman Erik Gustafsson and forward Vinnie Hinostroza will represent the Rockford IceHogs at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino in Utica, N.Y. The All-Star selection is the first for each of the two players during their respective AHL careers.
Gustafsson, 25, has notched 14 points with three goals, 11 assists and 38 penalty minutes through 22 contests with the IceHogs this season. The 6-1 206-lbs blueliner began the year with 10 points (3g, 7a) in his first 11 games prior to being sidelined with an injury through the majority of November and December. Since returning to the lineup on Dec. 28, Gustafsson has tallied an assist in three of his last four games for Rockford.
The Nynashamn, Sweden native made his professional debut with the IceHogs during the 2015-16 season and has since combined for 11g-44a-55pts in 117 career games with Rockford. Gustafsson has also collected 14 assists in 41 career NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hinostroza, 23, led the IceHogs and ranked 11th in the AHL in points prior to being recalled by the Blackhawks on Dec. 8. The 5-10, 180-lbs forward collected nine goals, 13 assists and a +7 rating through his 22 appearances with Rockford, and notched a team season-high six-game point streak from Oct. 14-25. Hinostroza also potted a pair of game-winning shootout goals to help lead the IceHogs to back-to-back victories against Grand Rapids on Nov. 18 and Chicago on Nov. 19.
The Chicago, Ill. native made his Rockford debut in 2014-15 and became the franchise’s first rookie to lead the team in points after compiling 51 points in 2015-16. Overall, Hinostroza has amassed 30g-52a-82pts in 109 career AHL games with the IceHogs from 2014-18, and 8g-10a-18pts in 65 career NHL games with Chicago.
The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic will air live to national audiences on NHL Network in the United States and on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW in Canada. The AHL All-Star Skills Competition is set for Sunday, Jan. 28 (7 p.m.), followed by the AHL All-Star Game on Monday, Jan. 29 (6 p.m).
The 2018 AHL All-Star Classic will feature a 3-on-3 tournament with each of the league’s four divisions — Atlantic, North, Central and Pacific — being represented. Rosters for each team will be comprised of 10 skaters and two goaltenders each, and each of the 30 AHL teams will be represented by at least one All-Star player.
The teams will participate in a round-robin tournament featuring six games of 10 minutes each, played entirely at 3-on-3. The two teams with the best records at the end of the round-robin will face off for the championship, a six-minute game also played at 3-on-3.
Last year, former IceHogs forward Spencer Abbott helped the Central Division claim the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic championship.
NEXT HOME GAME: The IceHogs host the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday, Jan. 6. Puck drop is 6 p.m. and the first 1,500 fans will receive a free IceHogs winter hat, courtesy of BMO Harris Bank.