Monsters Announce Captains for 2016-17 Season

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CLEVELAND – The AHL’s defending Calder Cup Champions, the Cleveland Monsters, proudly powered by Constellation, announced Thursday that Ryan Craig was named team captain for the 2016-17 season and forwards T.J. Tynan and Markus Hannikainen and defensemen Jaime Sifers and John Ramage were named assistant captains for the team’s 10th anniversary campaign.

“These individuals reflect the standards of professionalism, sacrifice and teamwork that are the hallmark of our organization’s values,” said Columbus Blue Jackets Assistant General Manager and Monsters General Manager Bill Zito on Thursday. “They represent the culture we aspire to as an organization and moreover, they understand the need to develop the team first and do so every day without sacrificing their own excellence…In short, they are leaders.”

A 6’2”, 220 lb. left wing from Abbotsford, BC, Craig, 34, is entering his 14th professional season and posted 9-11-20 with 38 penalty minutes and a +1 rating in 60 regular-season appearances for the Monsters while serving as team captain in 2015-16. An eighth-round selection (255th overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Craig contributed 3-10-13 with eight penalty minutes in 17 Calder Cup Playoff appearances last season while leading the Monsters to the franchise’s first Calder Cup Championship. A veteran of 198 NHL appearances for Tampa Bay, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus, Craig has 161-177-338 and 529 penalty minutes to his credit spanning 640 career AHL appearances for the Hershey Bears, Springfield Falcons, Norfolk Admirals, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Monsters. 2016-17 marks the eighth AHL season during which Craig has served as captain of his team.

The lone returning assistant captain from the Monsters’ 2016 Calder Cup Championship roster, Sifers, 33, tallied 5-14-19 with 86 penalty minutes and a +18 rating in 67 regular-season appearances last season. A 5-11, 200 lb. native of Stratford, CT, Sifers is entering his 11th professional campaign and notched 0-5-5 with ten penalty minutes in 14 playoff appearances a season ago.

The Monsters’ leading scorer last year, Tynan tallied 6-40-46 with 38 penalty minutes and a +7 rating in 76 appearances during the 2015-16 regular season before chipping in 1-5-6 with eight penalty minutes in 17 postseason appearances. A 5’8”, 165 lb. third-year center from Orland Park, IL, Tynan, 24, was selected by Columbus in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft (66th overall).

Currently recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Ramage, a 25-year old Mississauga, ON native, registered 8-19-27 with 67 penalty minutes and a +1 rating in 68 regular-season appearances for the Monsters last year and notched one NHL appearance in 2015-16 for Columbus. A 6-0, 201 lb. fourth-year blue liner, Ramage appeared in one postseason game for the Monsters in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NHL Draft (103rd overall) by the Calgary Flames.

A 6’2”, 189 lb. native of Helsinki, Finland, Hannikainen, 23, made his NHL debut for the Blue Jackets last season, logging four games played, and supplied 7-13-20 for the Monsters during the 2015-16 AHL regular-season with 20 penalty minutes and a +6 rating to his credit. In 16 playoff appearances, Hannikainen helped the Monsters claim the 2016 Calder Cup with 3-7-10 and two penalty minutes.

The Monsters also announced on Thursday that right-handed defensemen Frank Hora and Sheldon Brookbank signed 25-game professional tryout (PTO) agreements with the Monsters. Hora, a 6’1”, 205 lb. native of Amherst, NY, posted 6-63-69 with 180 penalty minutes and a +10 rating in 188 appearances for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers spanning three seasons from 2013-16. Hora, 20, is entering his first professional season in 2016-17.

Brookbank, a Stanley Cup Champion with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, is a veteran of 351 career NHL games played and posted 7-37-44 with 473 penalty minutes and a +17 rating during parts of eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago from 2006-14. A 6’1”, 201 lb. 16th-year blue-liner from Lanigan, SK, Brookbank pitched in 29-96-125 with 970 penalty minutes and a +16 rating in 361 career AHL appearances for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, Milwaukee Admirals and Lowell Devils spanning parts of seven seasons from 2001-08. Brookbank spent last season with Liiga’s Lukko Rauma, posting 1-3-4 with 65 penalty minutes in 38 games played.        

The Monsters drop the puck on their 10th Anniversary Season and begin their defense of the Calder Cup with a “Championship Celebration Weekend” when they take on the Rockford IceHogs in back-to-back games on Friday, October 14th at 7:00 pm and Saturday, October 15th at 5:00 pm at Quicken Loans Arena. The historic weekend celebration will begin at Friday’s opening night game when fans in attendance will experience the raising of the Monsters’ Calder Cup Championship banner. It’s also a 1-2-3 Friday featuring $1 Pepsi products, $2 Sugardale hot dogs and $3 select domestic draft beer specials! On Saturday, the first 10,000 fans will receive a magnetic Calder Cup 2016-17 Monsters regular-season schedule, presented by University Hospitals Parma Medical Center. There will also be an indoor Fan Fest on The Q concourse prior to each game with the opportunity for fans to take a photo with the Calder Cup. Full coverage of the Monsters’ “Championship Celebration Weekend,” live from The Q, begins at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 14th on 99X.

Tickets for every Monsters home game start at just $10 and are on sale now! Full and partial season ticket memberships are also available and provide you with the best seat locations, custom member benefits and the lowest ticket prices. Group outing and birthday bash packages for 10 or more people are also on sale now. All tickets can be purchased by visiting ClevelandMonsters.com, calling (216) 420-0000, visiting The Q Box Office or any Northern Ohio Discount Drug Mart. Be sure to follow the Monsters on Twitter @monstershockey, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/monstershockey, and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/monstershockey.