Preliminary rosters for the eight teams were announced on Wednesday. Other Coyotes could be added to rosters at a later time, but for now only Hanzal (Czech Republic) and Ekman-Larsson (Sweden) have secured roster spots.
“It’s a great honor,” Hanzal said. “I’m excited and looking forward to being part of it… It’s always special when you step on the ice with your Czech teammates and compete against the best teams like Sweden, Canada and U.S.”
The tournament will run from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, and all games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
“I think it’s going to be a really fun tournament to be part of,” Ekman-Larsson said. “…It’s going to be in Toronto so I think everybody is going to be really pumped to go watch the games. They’re going to be unbelievable games and it’s going to be good for the fans.”
The World Cup of Hockey is returning to the hockey calendar for the first time in 12 years. The first two World Cups were eight years apart, in 1996 and 2004.
“I would say it’s comparable to the Olympics because you have all the best players in the world playing,” Hanzal said. “When you go to the World Championship you don’t have all the best players because they are still competing for the Stanley Cup. It’s a little shorter (than the Olympics) with less teams but I think it’s going to be fun."
The United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden will send their national teams, but the other two teams are unique. Team North America will be comprised of the best under-24 players from the United States and Canada. Team Europe will be an amalgamation of players from European countries not sending their national teams to this tournament.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett will serve as an assistant coach for Team North America under Head Coach Todd McLellan.
“I think it's great for those guys,” Tippett said of Hanzal and Ekman-Larsson. “To play with the best players in the world - even if you are one of the best players in the world - that's still exciting.”
Live coverage of the games will be provided by ESPN in the United States.
Hanzal and Ekman-Larsson have played for their countries in international tournaments before:
HANZAL’S INTERNATIONAL RESUME
2014: Represented the Czech Republic at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia…Had one assist in four games
2013: Posted 1-3-4 and a plus-4 rating in eight games for the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Championships in Stockholm, Sweden and Helsinki, Finland
2008: Collected three assists in six games for the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Quebec City
2007: Represented the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Sweden…Finished with 2-1-3 in six games
2006: Registered two assists in six games for the Czech Republic at IIHF World Junior Championship in British Columbia
2005: Posted 4-3-2 and was a plus-7 in seven games at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in the Czech Republic…Was named to the tournament All-Star Team.
EKMAN-LARSSON’S INTERNATIONAL RESUME
2015: Recorded 2-10-12 in eight games and was a plus-4 with Sweden at the IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic
2014: Won a silver medal with Sweden at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia…Collected 0-3-3 in six games
2011: Won a silver medal at the IIHF World Championship in Slovakia…Recorded 1-3-4 and a plus-5 rating in seven games…Averaged 17:19 of ice time per game and took 24 shots
2010: Won a bronze medal at both the IIHF World Junior Championship in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan and IIHF World Championship in Germany…Registered 2-3-5 with 12 PIM and a plus-5 rating in six games at the WJC…Tied for the team lead in points by defensemen…Ranked tied for sixth in scoring among all defensemen in the tournament…Selected as one of Sweden’s top three players for the tournament by opposing coaches…Collected 1-2-3 and a plus-3 rating in nine games in the IIHF World Championship…Recorded 20:02 TOI in the bronze medal game vs. Germany
2009: Represented Team Sweden at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota, collecting 2-6-8 in six games and helping Sweden to a fifth place finish.