DURHAM, N.H. -- Former University of New Hampshire men's ice hockey player James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) headlines of group of three Wildcats to open the 2009-10 season in the National Hockey League. van Riemsdyk, who was UNH's leading scorer a year ago with 40 points, will open the season with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday at 7 p.m. against the Carolina Hurricanes. van Riemsdyk is joined by Ty Conklin (Anchorage, Alaska), who is beginning the first year of a two-year deal with the St. Louis Blues and Daniel Winnik (Mississauga, Ontario), who enters his third season with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Several other Wildcats are just a step away from the NHL, playing in the American Hockey League and other professional leagues overseas.

"(UNH) has been fortunate," Dick Umile said. "After leaving his sophomore year, going into camp and making it into opening night, it's really something special. He's done a lot for UNH in a short period of time. It's going to be fun watching him and I wish him nothing but the best."

van Riemsdyk may be in line to continue the UNH tradition of competing in the NHL's Winter Classic. While Conklin is the only player in NHL history to play in all three previous outdoor games, van Riemsdyk could potentially be in uniform when the Flyers come to Boston for the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park against the Bruins.

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