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PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

Two-Time Calder Cup Champion Signs Just Prior to Roster Deadline

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
– The Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League on Monday signed defenseman Terry Virtue to a standard player’s contract.

Virtue, 35, is one of the most esteemed defensemen in AHL history. A 13-year league veteran now playing in his 15th pro season, he stands among the AHL’s all-time leaders with 853 games played (16th overall and fourth among defensemen) and 1,796 penalty minutes (T12th), along with 90 playoff appearances (14th). Virtue won Calder Cups with the 1998-99 Providence Bruins and 1999-2000 Hartford Wolf Pack, becoming one of only 17 players in AHL history to win championships in consecutive seasons with two different teams.

Griffins fans got their first glimpse of Virtue at the 2004 Pepsi AHL All-Star Classic in Grand Rapids. Representing the Worcester IceCats, he served as captain of the Canadian squad opposite PlanetUSA captain and long-time Griffin Travis Richards. Among his other career accolades, Virtue was a Second Team AHL All-Star with Providence in 1998-99 and he played in the 1997 AHL All-Star Classic as an IceCat.

Virtue has compiled 380 points (86-294—380) during his AHL career, most recently earning one assist during a four-game stint with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in mid-February. His 455 games played, 154 assists and 210 points as a member of the defunct Worcester franchise rank first in that team’s history.

This season, Virtue has served as a player/assistant head coach for the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, placing among the team’s leaders with 34 assists (3rd) and 41 points (5th) in 54 contests. Among ECHL defensemen, he currently ranks fourth in assists, fifth in points and second in power play points (28).

Virtue’s signing occurred within hours of the AHL’s Clear Day deadline of 3 p.m. According to league by-laws, only those 22 players listed on a team’s Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remaining four weeks of the AHL regular season and in the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of recall, injury or suspension.

Virtue is expected to make his Griffins debut this Friday, March 17, when the Cleveland Barons visit Van Andel Arena for a 7 p.m. start.


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