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Bjorkstrand named to Denmark's initial roster for 2022 Olympic Games

Talented winger helped his home country qualify for the first time ever

by Jeff Svoboda @JacketsInsider / BlueJackets.com

For the first time ever, Denmark will will take part in the hockey tournament at the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, and one of the players who made it happen will there for the Danes.

Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand is one of three players named to the first roster for the Denmark team that will compete in the Games in February, the IIHF announced today.

In advance of NHL player participation in the Games, the IIHF together with the NHL/NHLPA have requested all participating teams to provide a list of three provisional NHL players to be included in the men's Olympic national team roster. Provided these players are healthy and remain eligible to participate in the Olympic Games, they will be included in the final team rosters that will be announced in January 2022.

Bjorkstrand was one of the players who made qualification happen for Denmark, as the Herning, Denmark, native took part in the three-game qualifying tournament in August at which the Danes punched their ticket. Bjorkstrand had three goals and two assists in the tournament as Denmark went 3-0 to qualify.

"We had never qualified before and we're always looking to take that next step in the hockey world, and our next step was making the Olympics," Bjorkstrand previously told BlueJackets.com. "Every four years in the past, it's been a little bit disappointing when we lost a tournament. We had teams that probably on paper should have been able to win them and ended up disappointed a little bit. This year we were in the same position.

"We had a team that looked the best on paper and expectations were we were going to win it, but it's always a tough tournament and you don't always know what to expect. The fact we won it this time was a huge relief, and I think everybody on the team is super pumped about getting an opportunity in the Olympics now. It was a big day for Danish hockey, and we're all really proud." 

The 26-year-old winger has become a consistent scorer for the Blue Jackets, racking up 83-94-177 line in 302 NHL games over seven seasons and posting a career-high 44 points in last year's shortened NHL campaign. A veteran of Denmark's games in international competition, Bjorkstrand twice took part in the World Junior Championships and was on the Danes' World Championship roster in 2015 and 2018.

Winnipeg's Nikolai Ehlers and Seattle's Alexander True also were named to the squad.

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