(ATR) Canada is going with experience over youth as it chases a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in men’s ice hockey.
All but two players on the Canada roster have NHL experience (COC)
The 25-man roster, unveiled on Thursday, includes 23 players with NHL experience. By comparison, the United States team
named last week has only 15 former NHL Players on its roster. For the first time since 1994, the NHL is not allowing its players to participate in the Winter Games.
Team Canada will be led by former NHL forwards Gilbert Brule, Mason Raymond, Derek Roy and Wojtek Wolski and goaltender Ben Scrivens. The veteran-laden roster, with an average age of 31, does not include any players from the gold medal-winning under-20 team from the just completed World Junior Championship.
“It has been an exciting journey to arrive at this 25-player roster, and I want to congratulate these players on earning their place in history to represent Canada on the biggest sporting stage in the world – the Olympic Winter Games,” said general manager Sean Burke at the unveiling of the team.
"We have a very special group of talented players and staff who are ready to compete in South Korea next month, and we will cherish the opportunity we’ve been given to stand alongside the other Canadian Olympians and represent the red-and-white.”
All but three of the Canadian players are currently plying their trade in European leagues, with 13 of them coming from Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
The KHL is widely considered to be the world’s second-best league behind the NHL. Russia, which will participate under the neutral Olympic Athletes From Russia (OAR) banner, is considered to be the gold medal favorite. The OAR team will be able to draw from a deep pool of homegrown players currently in the KHL, including former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.
The OAR team has not been announced, but the players chosen will have to prove they are clean in order to be eligible in PyeongChang. The IOC put guidelines into place in December as part of sanctions against Russia in the wake of rulings that doping samples of Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Games were tampered with to avoid positive results.
Written by Gerard Farek
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