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Wednesday, 04.12.2006 / 2:28 PM MT / News
Arizona Coyotes
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When the Phoenix Coyotes host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, AVP Pro Beach Volleyball star Jeff Nygaard will drop the puck for the ceremonial opening face-off.

Nygaard finished the 2005 season with an overall third place ranking along with his partner Dax Holdren.  Nygaard and Holdren placed first at the Santa Barbara Open and finished in the top three at nine of the events on the AVP Tour.  In 2004, Nygaard played beach volleyball in the Athens Olympic Games with Blanton, finishing 19th.

Nygaard has won a domestic event in each of the last four seasons, the second-longest current streak (behind Kiraly's five), and his victory in his 10th tournament ever made him one of just three players to do that since 1986 (along with George Roumain, who won in his eighth).

Nygaard was named the 2003 AVP Most Valuable Player and was part of the 2003 AVP Team of the Year with partner Dain Blanton. The duo topped the AVP victory list in 2003 with three titles in eight events.

A two-time indoor Olympian for the United States, Nygaard competed on the beach for the first-time in 2001 appearing in seven AVP events. He was a middle blocker on the 2000 USA Olympic team and he competed on the United States National Team for eight seasons (1993-2000).

He was the first collegiate men's player to receive player of the year honors in two consecutive seasons. Nygaard ended his career as UCLA's all-time leader in aces (123) and ranks second in blocks (650), kills (1,805) and hitting percentage (.427). He led the Bruins to two national championships (1993 and 1995).  He earned post-season honors all four years at UCLA, including first-team recognition for three years (1993-95). He was college volleyball's top freshman in 1992 and MVP in 1994 and '95.

Nygaard, a Wisconsin native, majored in English at UCLA.  He married Renee Schindler in 2004 following the Olympics in Athens.

Next month, FSN Arizona will broadcast replays of the "AVP Tempe Open" presented by Bud Light.

The tournament will take place at Tempe Beach Park from May 5-7, 2006.  For a complete listing of airdates, see below:

May 13, 2006
1:00 p.m.
Tempe Beach Park
Live to tape - Women (May 5-7)
May 14, 2006
5:00 p.m.
Tempe Beach Park
Live to tape - Women (May 5-7)
May 20, 2006
1:00 p.m.
Tempe Beach Park
Live to tape - Men (May 5-7)
May 21, 2006
5:00 p.m.
Tempe Beach Park
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