COYOTES SIGN KEITH BALLARD TO THREE-YEAR DEAL
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, June 7, 2004
--- Phoenix Coyotes General Manager Michael Barnett announced today that the Coyotes have signed defenseman Keith Ballard to a three-year deal. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Keith Ballard was arguably the best defensemen in NCAA hockey in 2003-04,” said Barnett. “He was a critical inclusion in our trade with Colorado late last season. He joins the Coyotes from the University of Minnesota where he played an integral part in the Gophers’ national championships. We look forward to watching Keith develop and contribute to winning in a Coyotes uniform.”
Last season, the 5-foot-11, 200 pound Ballard played in 37 games with the University of Minnesota (WCHA), ranking 4th on the team in points with 11-25-36. Ballard also ranked T-6th on the Gophers in goals, T-2nd in assists and T-3rd with 6 power play goals. In addition, Ballard ranked T-6th in the NCAA with 5 game winning goals. He also ranked 3rd on the Gophers with 120 shots and 1st in penalty minutes with 83. In April, Ballard represented Team USA at the IIHF World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, helping the United States win a bronze medal (1 goal in 8 games). Ballard was the only NCAA player selected to the roster.
The 21-year-old native of Baudette, Minnesota was named the John Mariucci Most Valuable Player by a vote of his teammates following Minnesota’s 2003-04 hockey season. The former first round draft pick (11th overall in 2002 by the Buffalo Sabres) was a 2003-04 All-American, a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist and an All-WCHA First Team selection. He ranks 7th on the University of Minnesota’s all-time list for goals by a defenseman with 33. Ballard also became the 11th defenseman in school history to record 100 points. He collected 33-67-100 for 11th place on Minnesota’s points by a defenseman list.
In 2003-03, Ballard played in all 45 games for the University of Minnesota and was a Second Team All-WCHA selection. He ranked 4th in the nation among blueliners with 12 goals and 29 assists and finished 3rd on the team in scoring and 3rd in the WCHA among defensemen with 5-19-24 in 28 games in WCHA play. Ballard was named to the NCAA West Regional All Tournament team and was named to the WCHA Final Five All-Tournament Team.
In his freshman season, (2001-02), Ballard played in 41 games, collecting 10-13-23. Ballard was the only player from the WCHA to represent the United States at the World Junior Championships. He was a preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year and an All-WCHA Rookie selection.
The Coyotes acquired Ballard on March 9, 2004 along with defenseman Derek Morris from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for center Chris Gratton, defenseman Ossi Vaananen and the Coyotes 2nd round draft choice in the 2005 Entry Draft. Ballard was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres (1st round, 11th overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft
***THE COYOTES WILL HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 8 AT 11:00 A.M. AT GLENDALE ARENA (COYOTES INTERVIEW ROOM) TO INTRODUCE BALLARD TO THE MEDIA***