IHL All-Star Team

By Parker Neale
The IHL’s best will converge on Chicago on January 15th to take on the defending Turner Cup Champion Chicago Wolves. The all-star roster was announced last week with a breakdown of three players from each of Grand Rapids, Manitoba, Cleveland and Orlando. Milwaukee and Detroit were able to submit two players apiece. And, Houston, Cincinnati, Utah and Kansas City round out the selections with one participant each.

In goal for the all-stars are Frederic Chabot of Houston, Mike Fountain of Grand Rapids and Johan Hedberg of Manitoba. Chabot has been solid for a Houston squad that has been quite inconsistent so far this season. Fountain has been the catalyst in the Griffins success and leads the league in GAA and wins. Hedberg has been dynamite for the Moose and amongst the league leaders in wins throughout the year.

Up front are Peter Bartos and Christian Matte of Cleveland, Mark Beaufait and Yves Sarault of Orlando, Martin Cibak and Nils Ekman of Detroit, Vadim Sharifijanov of Kansas City, Todd White of Grand Rapids, Brian Felsner of Cincinnati and John Purves of Utah. Bartos has been an offensive gem with the Lumberjacks and Minnesota during his call-ups while Matte has made a successful transition from the AHL to the IHL and leads the league in goals with 16. Beaufait gets the nod despite missing a fair amount of time with an injury due to his stellar offence in the early going. Yves Sarault has been consistent and earned a recent call-up to Atlanta. Cibak and Ekman are both young, talented aces for the Vipers and lead their attack. Sharifijanov has been atop the league leaders in assists and points all season. White, the former IHL Rookie of the Year has buoyed the Griffins attack. Felsner, who shone in last year’s all-star game, has been solid for an inconsistent Cyclones squad. And, Purves competes in his 6th all-star game.

On the blueline are Philippe Boucher and Brett Hauer of Manitoba, Bubba Berenzweig and Marc Moro of Milwaukee, Travis Richards of Grand Rapids, Eric Charron of Cleveland and Curtis Murphy of Orlando. Boucher continues to provide power-play goals while Hauer is his usual steady self. Berenzweig and Moro have both been very steady for the Admirals and deserve all-star berths. In his fifth season with the Griffins, Travis Richards finally gets the all-star nod. Charron has provided offence from the blueline for the Lumberjacks, already contributing 7 goals. And, Curtis Murphy has been a scoring force for the Solar Bears with 12 goals already.

Even though the Wolves are starting to turn it around and will continue to round out their form as the season progresses, I predict that the all-star roster takes this match-up in a 6-3 score.

Fans can now pick the starters for both teams on the IHL’s web site at TheIHL.com.