Ajay Baines and Steve Poapst to be Inducted into Admirals Hall of Fame
NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk Admirals today announced that forward Ajay Baines and defenseman Steve Poapst will be inducted into the Admirals Hall of Fame on Friday, February 18th, prior to the Admirals game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The announcement was made today on the Admirals Hour Radio Show on 102.1-FM and 1490-AM The Game.
Joining the Admirals as an undrafted free agent, Ajay Baines became an integral part of the team’s inaugural AHL season in 2000-01. He spent the better part of six seasons with the Admirals.
Best known as the longest serving captain in AHL Admirals history, Baines wore the “C” from October 18, 2002 until February 15, 2006. Baines holds the record for most games played in AHL Admirals history with 409 and most points with 175. He ranks third in both goals (68) and assists (107). As a formidable two-way forward, he led the AHL Admirals to two division titles, led the team in scoring during the 2003-04 season and was integral on a penalty kill that ranked among the AHL's top ten for four of the six seasons that he played.
There are three words to describe Ajay Baines: Sportsmanship, Determination and Dedication. These characteristics were awarded after the 2008-09 season when he was selected to receive the AHL’s Fred Hunt Memorial Trophy. Baines was deeply and passionately involved in promoting literacy and working with diabetics in the Hampton Roads area. He was a two-time recipient of the Admirals American Specialty/AHL Man of the Year Award (2000-01, 2004-05) for his work in the Hampton Roads community.
Baines retired following the 2008-09 season after playing 647 career AHL games between Norfolk, the Hamilton Bulldogs, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights and Iowa Stars. He won the 2007 Calder Cup with the Bulldogs and scored the Calder Cup-clinching goal in Game 5 against the Hershey Bears on June 7, 2007.
A veteran of 14 professional seasons, Steve Poapst was signed as a free agent and made his first appearance as a professional with the Hampton Roads Admirals during the 1991-92 season. He spent two seasons with the Admirals where he was an active participant in earning the 1992 Riley Cup Championship. In 1992-93, he earned the ECHL First Team All-Star honors. In 118 ECHL games with Hampton Roads, Poapst scored 18 goals and 73 points.
Following his time with the Admirals, Poapst played 498 AHL games, a majority of which were with the Portland Pirates, registering 45 goals and 205 total points with an impressive +127 plus/minus rating. He won the 1994 Calder Cup with the Pirates and led Portland to the Calder Cup Final in 1996. Poapst signed his first career NHL contract with the Washington Capitals in February of 1995. Although he spent the majority of the 1995-96 season with Portland, Poapst made his NHL debut playing in three games with Washington and scoring his first NHL goal.
Poapst would return to Norfolk during the 2000-01 season after signing as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks, making him one of only five players to play for both the ECHL and AHL Admirals. He played in 37 games with Norfolk in 2000-01 and scored a goal and nine points. After a strong NHL season in 2001-02, Poapst enjoyed his most productive season offensively in 2002-03 when he tallied 13 points and was +14 for the Blackhawks. In 307 career NHL games between Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, Poapst registered eight goals and 28 assists.
Poapst played in 93 playoff games between the ECHL, AHL, and NHL, registering 28 post-season points and winning both the Riley Cup and Calder Cup. Poapst retired after the 2005-06 season and joined the coaching staff for the Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, before the start of the 2010-11 season. In 155 career games between the ECHL and AHL Admirals, Poapst scored 19 goals and 82 points.
Baines and Poapst will become the ninth and tenth members of the Admirals Hall of Fame during a pre-game, on-ice induction ceremony prior to the Admirals game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday, February 18th. The Admirals Hall of Fame was established during the 2007-08 season with charter members Blake Cullen, John Brophy, Al MacIsaac and Rod Taylor. Over the last two seasons, Mark Bernard, Victor Gervais, Rick Kowalsky and Dennis McEwen have been added to the elite group.
Individual tickets for all regular season games start at just $12. Tickets are available now at the Scope Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Take advantage of great savings on Admirals tickets with our 10-Packs and group tickets. 10-Packs are available for as little as $110 and allow you to pick the games you want. Group tickets start at $10 for groups of 25 or more people. Stop by the Admirals’ Administrative Offices at Scope, call (757) 640-1212 weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit norfolkadmirals.com anytime for more details or to purchase your tickets!