Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Adam Foote and forward Rick Nash
were among 23 players and three alternates selected to Canada's men's ice hockey team which will compete at the 2006 Olympic Games this February in Turin, Italy, Hockey Canada announced today at a press conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Blue Jackets team captain, Foote is playing in his 14th NHL season and first with Columbus. He will be making his third Olympic appearance as he also played for Team Canada in 1998 and 2002, winning the gold medal at the 2002 Games held in Salt Lake City. In 12 career Olympic Games, he has tallied 1-1-2 and six penalty minutes. His international experience also includes the World Cup of Hockey, where he helped Canada win the tournament in 2004 and finish second in 1994. In the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, he tallied 0-3-3 with a +6 plus/minus rating and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Foote spent his first 13 seasons with the the Colorado/Quebec organization and is the Avalanche's all-time leader in playoff games played with 154. He helped the club win two Stanley Cup championships (1996 and 2001) and has registered 59-181-240 and 1,176 penalty minutes in 825 career NHL games, including 4-2-6 and 36 penalty minutes in 26 games with Columbus this season.
Nash is set to make his Olympics debut after helping Canada win the silver medal at the 2005 World Championships. In last spring's tournament, he racked up 9-6-15, eight penalty minutes and was +7 in nine games. He led the tournament in goals and ranked second in points, earning All-Tournament Team honors. In 2002, Nash won a silver medal with the Canadian squad at the World Junior Championships.
Nash, who hails from Brampton, Ontario, is playing in his third NHL season since the Blue Jackets made him the first overall pick of the 2002 Entry Draft. He has appeared in 159 games, registering 60-38-98 and 169 penalty minutes, including 2-0-2 and four penalty minutes in five games this season. He has scored goals in each of the two games he's played since returning from injuries that forced him to miss 28 of the club's first 31 games.
In 2003-04, Nash made his All-Star Game debut and became the youngest player in NHL history to lead the league in goals as he notched 41-16-57 in 80 games. He shared the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy with Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk. In 2002-03, he collected 17-22-39 in 74 games and earned a spot on the NHL's All-Rookie Team.
Team Canada is under the guidance of executive director Wayne Gretzky, assistant executive director Kevin Lowe, director of player personnel Steve Tambellini, head coach Pat Quinn, and assistant coaches Ken Hitchcock, Jacques Martin and Wayne Fleming. The team's roster for the 2006 Olympic Games consists of: Forwards – Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan, Kris Draper, Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Martin St. Louis, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Joe Thornton, ; Defense – Rob Blake, Adam Foote, Ed Jovonovski, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Wade Redden and Robyn Regehr; Goaltenders – Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, and Marty Turco. The three alternates are defenseman Bryan McCabe and forwards Eric Staal and Jason Spezza.
The Blue Jackets return to action tonight when they host the Dallas Stars at Nationwide Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m., with FSN Ohio's Ice Breaker pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM Sports Radio 1460 the Fan and WWCD-FM, CD101.