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Avalanche Sends NHL-Best 11 Players To The Olympics

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
DENVER - When the 2006 Winter Olympics commence in Turin, Italy, on Feb. 15, it will do so with 11 members of the Colorado Avalanche representing eight different countries, both tops in the National Hockey League.

Seven more Avalanche players were named to their respective Olympic teams today, including David Aebischer (Switzerland), Peter Budaj and Marek Svatos (Slovakia), Milan Hejduk (Czech Republic), Antti Laaksonen and Ossi Vaananen (Finland) and Karlis Skrastins (Latvia). They will join John-Michael Liles (USA), Rob Blake and Joe Sakic (Canada) and Vitaly Kolesnik (Kazakhstan) when the preliminary round begins on Feb. 15.

Almost half of Colorado's current 23-man roster will be heading to Olympic Games, including three goaltenders, four defensemen and four forwards. Colorado will have at least one player on eight of the 12 national teams and two or more players on three of those squads. The only countries without an Avalanche representative are Germany, Italy, Sweden and Russia.

PlayerPosCountryOlympic Appearance
David AebischerGSwitzerlandSecond (2002)
Rob BlakeDCanadaThird (1998, 2002)
Peter BudajGSlovakiaFirst
Milan HejdukRWCzech RepublicThird (1998, 2002)
Vitaly KolesnikGKazakhstanFirst
Antti LaaksonenLWFinlandFirst
John-Michael LilesDUSAFirst
Joe SakicCCanada (captain)Third (1998, 2002)
Karlis SkrastinsDLatviaSecond (2002)
Marek SvatosRWSlovakiaFirst
Ossi VaananenDFinlandSecond (2002)
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