January 18, 2013

Two Former FSU Captains Chosen As AHL All-Stars; Redmond Makes Opening Day NHL Roster


Redmond with Winnipeg (NHL) 

Big Rapids, Mich. - Two former Ferris State University men's ice hockey captains have been chosen to compete in the 2013 Dunkin' Donuts American Hockey League (AHL) All-Star Classic and one of them has earned a spot on an opening day National Hockey League (NHL) roster.

Former Bulldog defensemen Chad Billins (Marysville) and Zach Redmond (Traverse City) are among this year's honorees for the AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 27-28 in Providence (R.I.) as rosters were recently determined by committees of AHL coaches. A rookie with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Billins was chosen for the first time to the Western Conference All-Star Team while Redmond earned his second AHL All-Star nomination in his second professional season.

Redmond has spent the 2012-13 campaign with the St. John's IceCaps of the AHL, but was also named today (Jan. 18) to the opening day roster for the National Hockey League's (NHL) Winnipeg Jets.  They open the shortened 2013 season at home against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m.

In 36 games with the IceCaps this season, Redmond has 17 points and is tied for the team lead in goals (8) and power play goals (4) along with leading the squad in shots on goal (95).  The Traverse City native played in 72 games for St. John's a year ago and notched 31 points on eight goals and 23 assists along with a plus 9 rating.

Before turning pro, Redmond played four seasons at Ferris State from 2007-11 and served as the Bulldogs' team captain as a senior in 2010-11.  A 2010-11 All-CCHA First-Team performer, Redmond registered a team second-highest 20 points on a career season-best seven goals with 13 assists in 26 contests for the Bulldogs in the 2010-11 season.  

Redmond concluded his four seasons (2007-11) as a Bulldog with 90 points on 22 goals and 68 assists in 141 contests.  The 2009-10 second-team All-CCHA skater chalked up 12 power-play goals, seven game-winning tallies, one short-handed lamplighter, 217 blocked shots, and a plus 22 efficiency rating

A 2008 seventh-round NHL Entry Draft pick (184th overall) by the Atlanta Thrashers, Redmond originally inked a contract with Atlanta and began his career skating for their top affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, of the AHL.

Billins has made the most of his rookie season for the Detroit Red Wings' AHL affiliate in the Grand Rapids Griffins, where's he's played for head coach Jeff Blashill, a former Ferris State player and assistant coach who served as a NHL assistant with the Red Wings last campaign.

The captain of Ferris State's historic 2011-12 NCAA Frozen Four team, Billins needed little time to transition to the professional ranks after a four-year career at Ferris State, racking up 16 points (1-15-16) in his first 16 AHL games. Billins has 19 points (1-18-19) in 37 games this season, owning a team-best four-game assist streak (Oct. 19-28) and a pair of three-assist games among his six multi-point outings. This past Tuesday (Jan. 15), Billins skated in an exhibition contest involving both current Grand Rapids Griffins and Detroit Red Wings players, which was televised live by Fox Sports Detroit.

Billins is among 12 AHL rookies named to the event and one of three current Griffin's players selected to compete in the contest, which will be held on Monday, Jan. 28.  An all-star skills competition takes place on Jan. 27.

A native of Marysville, Mich., Billins logged 29 points (7-22—29) and 24 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Bulldogs last season while claiming American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-America Second Team plaudits. He served as a co-captain for the Bulldogs during the team's run to the NCAA Frozen Four, where they advanced to the national title game. Overall, he skated in 149 games in four years with Ferris State, notching 67 points (17-50—67) and 108 penalty minutes.

Billins was recognized last season as both a All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First Team recipient and the winner of the CCHA's prestigious Scholar-Athlete Award as the Bulldogs claimed the school's second-ever league regular-season crown.

Beginning Friday and until Jan. 24, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the starting lineups for the 2013 AHL All-Star Game by visiting facebook.com/theahl and completing the official CCM AHL All-Star Fan Ballot. Voters will also be entered to win prizes of a team-signed 2013 AHL All-Star stick (two) and team-signed 2013 AHL All-Star commemorative programs (10).

The 2013 Dunkin' Donuts AHL All-Star Classic in Providence will feature the top young talent in the American Hockey League. Of the 597 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since the event was reinstated in 1995, more than 92 percent have competed in the National Hockey League.

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