COLUMBUS, OHIO – Hockey Canada announced that Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash, center Antoine Vermette and defenseman Marc Methot are among the first group of 19 players selected represent Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Championships, which will take place April 29-May 15 in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.
Nash, 26, is a five-time NHL All-Star who led the Blue Jackets in scoring with 32-34-66 in 75 games this season. The Brampton, Ontario native is a Team Canada veteran having represented his country at the 2010 and 2006 Olympic Games, the 2008, 2007, 2005 and 2002 World Championships and 2002 World Junior Championships. He won gold medals at the 2010 Olympics and 2007 World Championships (All-Tournament Team selection) and earned silver at the 2008 and 2005 (All-Tournament Team) World Championships and 2002 WJC tournament.
Vermette, 28, tallied 19-28-47 and 60 penalty minutes in 82 games with the Blue Jackets this season, ranking third on the club in points, fourth in goals and fifth in assists. He has collected 53-72-125 and 100 penalty minutes while appearing in 181 consecutive games since joining the club in March 2009. The St. Agapit, Quebec native will be making his World Championship debut for Team Canada this year.
Methot, 25, is a native of Ottawa, Ontario and will also be playing in the World Championships for the first time. He tallied 0-15-15 with 58 penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating in 74 games with Columbus this season, setting career highs in assists and average time on ice (19:53). The club's seventh pick, 168th overall, in the 2003 Entry Draft has registered 6-38-44, 184 penalty minutes and is +5 in 229 career NHL games.
Team Canada general manager Dave Nonis, along with assistant general managers Rob Blake and Bob Murray and vice president of hockey operations/national teams Brad Pascall have been meeting regularly over the past few weeks to assemble Canada’s roster and staff for the upcoming IIHF World Championship. In consultation with the management group, head coach Ken Hitchcock and associate coaches Scott Arniel and Peter DeBoer, Nonis confirmed the first group of 19 players that could be joined by additional players following the first round of the NHL playoffs.
Teams can officially name up to 23 players, including three goaltenders, for the preliminary round at the IIHF World Championship. After the preliminary round, teams can have up to 25 players on their official rosters. Team Canada will assemble in Europe on April 22 and play two pre-competition games, on April 24 vs. France in Paris and on April 27 vs. the Czech Republic in Prague. Canada will be based in Kosice, Slovakia for the preliminary round.