COLUMBUS, OHIO – Columbus Blue Jackets forwards Rick Nash, Jason Chimera and goaltender Pascal Leclaire were among 15 players named to Team Canada's roster for the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship, the Blue Jackets and Team Canada General Manager Steve Yzerman announced April 8. This year's tournament will mark the third World Championship appearance for Nash (2007, 2005), the second for Chimera (2007) and first for Leclaire.
The players will join Columbus' Ken Hitchcock, who will serve as the head coach for the Canadian squad that will attempt to defend its gold medal at the tournament, which will be held from May 2-18 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City, Quebec. Hitchcock’s assistant coaches will be Pat Burns, Mike Johnston and Craig MacTavish. Additional players will be added to the Team Canada roster after the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
A native of Brampton, Ontario, Nash led the Blue Jackets with 38 goals and 31 assists for 69 points to go along with 95 penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating in 80 games this season. He set career highs in assists and points and also led the club in power play goals (10), game-winning goals (six), shorthanded goals (four) and shots on goal (329). He was the Most Valuable Player at last year’s World Championship as he led Canada to the gold medal with 6-5-11 in nine games. He won a silver medal and was named to the All-Tournament Team in 2005 after leading the tournament in goals and ranking second in points with 9-6-15 in eight games. He also represented Canada at the 2006 Olympic Games and the 2002 World Junior Championship, where he won a silver medal.
A native of Repentigny, Quebec, Leclaire enjoyed his best NHL season in 2007-08 as he compiled a 24-17-6 record with a 2.25 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and nine shutouts in 54 games. He set franchise records and was among the NHL’s leaders in goals-against average (seventh in NHL), save percentage (11th in NHL) and shutouts (second in NHL). He has also represented Canada at numerous international competitions, including the 2002 World Junior Championships when he won the Top Goaltender Award and a silver medal with a 4-1-0 record, 1.80 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and two shutouts in five games.
A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Chimera tallied 14-17-31 and 98 penalty minutes in 81 games for the Blue Jackets this season, ranking third on the club in goals, game-winning goals (three, tied) and shots on goal (198). The 2007-08 campaign was his third-straight in which he tallied at least 14 goals, 30 points and 90 penalty minutes. He had his franchise record consecutive games played streak end at 243 when he missed the season finale on April 6 due to a groin strain.
Deposits are now being accepted for the 2008-09 season. For information on season tickets, 10 or 20 game plans and or group tickets, call (614) 246-PUCK or 800-NHL-COLS.