VANCOUVER (BC) – On Wednesday at General Motors Place, at a joint press conference to announce Canada’s 2006 Women’s Olympic hockey roster of 21 players, Hockey Canada announced its men’s hockey roster of 26 players that will represent Canada at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy in February.
“This is a very exciting day for our country and our coaching and management staff, we believe that this is a great team, and these players will do an outstanding job of representing Canada in Turin,” said Wayne Gretzky, Executive Director of Canada’s Olympic Men’s Hockey Team. “We will count on great leadership from this group of players along with a great deal of international experience and, most of all, a very talented and proud group of Canadian players.”
Canada’s men’s Olympic management team, comprised of Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson, Kevin Lowe, and Steve Tambellini, met in person on Wednesday morning in Vancouver to finalize Canada’s roster. They were joined via conference call by Wayne Gretzky and Canada’s coaching staff of Head Coach Pat Quinn and Associate Coaches Wayne Fleming, Marc Habscheid, Ken Hitchcock and Jacques Martin, and Hockey Canada Director of Player Personnel Blair Mackasey to finalize Team Canada’s 26 player roster.
The IIHF, NHL and NHLPA had imposed a December 22nd deadline to all hockey federations to submit their final 26-man rosters for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Canada’s 26 player roster is comprised of three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 15 forwards. This includes Canada’s three alternate players: defenceman Bryan McCabe and forwards Jason Spezza and Eric Staal.
“The process of getting Canada’s roster down to 26 players was very challenging, but in saying that, it pays tribute to the depth of talent that we have in Canada, particularly these players are the products and pride of the minor development hockey system that we have in Canada,” said Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson.
Team Canada’s management and coaching staff announced that Joe Sakic will be Canada’s men’s hockey team captain. Sakic has served as team captain with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche since 1992 and was an alternate captain for Canada at both the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. Sakic, a native of Burnaby, British Columbia, has played for Canada at eight international events, playing 40 international games and helping Canada win four World titles (1988 World Junior Championship, 1994 World Championship, 2002 Olympic Winter Games, 2004 World Cup of Hockey).
Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team will convene in Toronto on and leave for Turin on the same day (more details will be announced in early February). Canada’s opening game in men’s hockey at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games will be against Italy on February 15,2006. Canada’s Women’s Olympic Team opens up on , also against Italy.
In the history of Olympic Winter Games, Canada has amassed a total of 13 medals: seven gold medals (1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1948, 1952, 2002), four silver medals (1936, 1960, 1992, 1994) and two bronze medals (1956, 1968). Professional hockey players have only been allowed to take part in the Olympic Winter Games since 1998.