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July 1, 2008

Lightning Sign Former Hampton Roads Admirals Goaltender Olaf Kolzig

TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have signed free agent goaltender Olaf Kolzig to a one-year contract today, owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie announced. Kolzig spent part of two seasons as a Hampton Roads Admiral in the early 1990s.

"Olaf is a real stabilizer in the locker room and on the ice,” Lightning vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. “With Karri Ramo, Olaf Kolzig and Mike Smith we have a great deal of depth at the goaltending position and we like all the options that allows us moving forward."

One of the most experienced goaltenders in the NHL, Kolzig has played his entire career in Washington where he owns team goaltending records for games played (711), wins (301), save percentage (.906) and shutouts (35), among others. A first-team All-Star and Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goaltender after posting a career-best 41 wins in 1999-00, Kolzig has played in two NHL All-Star Games (1998 and 2000). He also led the Capitals to the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals, posting a 12-9 record and 1.95 goals-against average in 21 games.

Olaf Kolzig spent parts of two seasons with the Hampton Roads Admirals in the early 1990s.Originally drafted 19th overall by Washington in 1989, Kolzig, 38, played three seasons in the Western Hockey League with New Westminster and Tri-City before making his NHL debut with the Capitals in 1989-90. He appeared in 35 combined games with the Hampton Roads Admirals (ECHL) in 1990-91 and 1991-92, posting 22 wins, a 3.21 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.

The 6-foot-3, 224-pound native of Johannesburg, South Africa, became a regular with the Capitals in 1994-95 and took over as the team’s starter in 1997-98 when he posted a record of 33-18-10 with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

Kolzig enjoyed his ninth 20+ win and his seventh 25+ win season in 2007-08, and he became the 23rd NHL goaltender to record 300 career victories with a 24-save win March 12 against Calgary. He is tied for 22nd all time with 301 career wins, and only Martin Brodeur has played more games than Kolzig among goaltenders who spent their entire career with one team. He has played in 45 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, posting a 20-24 record with six shutouts, a 2.14 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

Kolzig has represented Germany on the international stage four times including the 1998 and 2006 Winter Olympics, the 1997 World Championships and the 1996 World Cup. He is considered to be one of the NHL’s most active players when it comes to charitable endeavors, serving as one of the co-founders of Athletes Against Autism and founding the Carson Kolzig Foundation, named after his son. He was chosen as the recipient of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy in 2006.

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