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West Valley City, Utah - The Utah Grizzlies, proud affiliate of the New York Islanders, will open their 2007-2008 season Friday at US Airways Center in Phoenix. Face-off is scheduled for 8:11 p.m. The series will continue Saturday at 8:11 p.m. and Sunday at 6:00 p.m.
The Grizzlies home opening weekend is next week, as they will welcome the Idaho Steelheads to the E-Center for 7:05 p.m. face-offs Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27.
Jason Christie's roster includes seven players from last year's Grizzlies team along with two players signed to NHL contracts with the Islanders and eight with their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport.
Prospects from the Islanders organization include: four 21-year old rookies in: Martin Frechette, Chris Gaudet, Tyler Haskins (5th round Detroit Redwings selection in 2004) and Michael Haley. Two 22-year-old's in Jason Pitton (8th round Islanders selection in 2004) and Keith Johnson. Goaltender Mike Mole spent most of the 2005-2006 season in Phoenix with the RoadRunners before signing with the Islanders prior to last season when he split the year between their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport and the ECHL. Defenseman Jeff Dwyer (6th round Atlanta Thrashers selection in 2000) has split time in the ECHL and AHL most of the last four seasons. He was part of the Gwinnett (ECHL) team that advanced to the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals in 2006. Justin Bourne spent the end of last season with the Alaska Aces after completing college at Alaska's UAA. Jordan Hart attended prospect camps with the Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers this past summer.
Scott Burt (Idaho) and Scott Ford (Dayton) competed against each other in the 2007 ECHL Kelly Cup Finals.
Kazuma Takahashi is attempting to become only the second-ever Japanese native to advance to the NHL.
Goaltender Brett Jaeger was an ECHL All-Star in 2006 with Fresno going 21-6-8.
Rookie Rob Sirianni completed last year with Syracuse (AHL) after finishing college at Bemidji State Univeristy.
Returning players for the Grizzlies include: the team's leading scorer the last two seasons Ryan Kinasewich, 2007 ECHL All-Star defenseman Andy Sertich, West Valley native D.J. Jelitto, 2006-2007 captain Travis Rycroft and defensemen Ian Forbes, Eric Nelson and James Sanford.