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Sharp and Keith join Team Canada at World Championship

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith will play for Team Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Championship beginning May 4. (Getty Images)

Hockey season will go on for defenseman Duncan Keith and forward Patrick Sharp, who have accepted invitations to join Team Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Championship, held in Finland and Sweden from May 4-20.

This year's tournament will be Keith's third stint with Team Canada. The 28-year-old registered two assists in nine appearances at the 2008 World Championship held in Halifax and Quebec City, taking home a silver medal. Keith also represented Canada at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, logging six helpers in seven games and winning gold on home soil. He joins his countrymen after posting 40 points (4G, 36A) and a +15 plus/minus rating in 74 games in the 2011-12 regular season; he also appeared in all six contests in Chicago's Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"It's a special feeling," Keith said. "I would have liked to go last year, but I had a broken finger and I needed surgery on my elbow. This year I'm healthy and looking forward to the challenge."

Sharp will represent Team Canada for the second time in his career, having also won a silver medal at the 2008 World Championship. The 30-year-old Thunder Bay, Ont., native had three goals in nine appearances in that tournament. Sharp finished the 2011-12 regular season with 69 points (33G, 36A) in 74 games, his second-highest career total. He also registered a team-high +28 rating and paced the team with eight game-winning goals. Sharp tallied once in six postseason appearances against the Coyotes.
“I’m excited about the opportunity," Sharp said during the year-end press conference on Wednesday. "I played in 2008 in Canada, and it was an awesome experience. I think it helped me personally in my career; I played well after. I’m excited to get on the plane and join the team and see what I can do.”

The IIHF introduced a new championship format for the 2012 tournament. Team Canada begins preliminary round action on May 4 against Slovakia at 4:15 p.m. Helsinki time.
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