On December 19th, 2016 the American Hockey League named Cleveland Monsters' Captain, Ryan Craig, as one of the Captains for the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic.
Although Craig has played in 667 AHL games spanning 12 seasons, this will be his first trip to the AHL All-Star Classic.
Craig was picked by the league's President based on his "outstanding leadership and service".
Leadership is a quality Craig has strongly portrayed over his 12 seasons in the AHL. Nine of his 12 seasons in the AHL were spent captaining four different teams; the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Springfield Falcons, Norfolk Admirals, and Cleveland Monsters. Craig led the Penguins deep in the Calder Cup playoffs two years in a row (2010-11, 2011-12) and was able to captain the Monsters to a Calder Cup win in 2016.
No matter what team Craig is captaining, he is able to create impeccable team chemistry and pull the best out of his teammates. When asked during opening weekend how he is able to continually foster team growth, Craig chalked his accomplishments as a captain up to his teammates and coaches.
I think I've been fortunate enough to be around some really good leaders and really good coaches. People who have put me in the position to be a captain but also surrounded me with really good teammates.
In 27 games this season, Craig has eight points spread evenly among goals and assists.
Chris Bourque of the Hershey Bears was also named Captain.
The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic will take place January 29-30 at the Lehigh Valley Phantoms' home, the PPL Center.