HARTFORD, March 8, 2011:  Connecticut Whale general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Francis Lemieux to an American Hockey League contract.

CT WhaleLemieux, a sixth-year pro, has played six games with the Whale under a pair of Professional Tryout (PTO) agreements and has registered one assist and two penalty minutes.  The 5-10, 195-pound Sherbrooke, Quebec native has also suited up for two AHL games this season for the Manitoba Moose, going scoreless with no penalty minutes.

Lemieux first joined the Whale February 20 from Florida Everblades of the ECHL.  In 56 games with Florida, he rolled up totals of 28-45-73, good for second in the league in points and assists.

Lemieux, 27, has played 257 AHL games in his career, with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Grand Rapids Griffins, Moose and Whale, notching 45 goals and adding 69 assists for 114 points, with 235 penalty minutes.  He won a Calder Cup with the Bulldogs in 2007.  In 69 career ECHL contests with the Las Vegas Wranglers and Everblades, Lemieux has 37 goals and 48 assists for 85 points, as well as 134 PIM.  Lemieux was originally signed as a free agent by the Montreal Canadiens December 8, 2005, after a four-year Junior career with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior League.

The Whale are back in action tonight, visiting the AHL-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for a 7:00 PM game (WTIC HD-2, www.ctwhale.com, www.wtic.com).  The club’s next home game at the XL Center is this Friday night, March 11, with the two-time defending Calder Cup-champion Hershey Bears coming to town on Guida’s Family Value Night.  Faceoff is 7:00, and Family Value packages start as low as $48 and include three tickets, three hot dogs or pizza slices, three sodas and a Whale souvenir. Guida’s Family Value Night packs are available at the XL Center box office and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.

Tickets for all 2010-11 Whale home games are available now at the XL Center box office, through Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone at 1-800-745-3000 and on-line at www.ctwhale.com.  Tickets start at $7 each at the XL Center ticket office on game day.

For information on Whale ticket packages, group sales and VIP packages, call (860) 728-3366.