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Flames’ Rittich to replace Coyotes’ Kuemper in All-Star Game

Last Updated Jan 15, 2020 at 1:51 pm MST

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) plays the puck in front of his net during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

TORONTO (SPORTSNET) — Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich has been named an NHL All-Star for the first time.

The 27-year-old will replace the Arizona Coyotes‘ Darcy Kuemper — who has been out with a lower-body injury since Dec. 19 — on the Pacific Division team.

“This means a lot for me,” Rittich said in a statement. “Right now, I can kind of say I’m with the best players in the world in the All-Star Game. It’s going to be huge for me and it for sure can help me, for my next steps in my career.

“I’m just going to enjoy the time and I want to try my best there. I just want to have fun.”

Rittich has been the No. 1 starter for the Flames for most of the season, starting 34 of the team’s 48 games. He has a 18-11-5 record, 2.79 goals-against average and career-high .913 save percentage.

“My wife is probably a little sad right now because we were going to Mexico,” he said. “But the All-Star Game is a big opportunity for me and I’m not a guy who is going to say no.”

The Flames netminder will be partnered with the Canucks’ Jacob Markstrom on the Pacific team. Markstrom is replacing the Vegas Golden Knights‘ Marc-Andre Fleury, who opted to rest instead of attend the festivities.

The NHL All-Star Weekend will take place Jan. 24 and 25 in St. Louis.