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by Staff Writer / Arizona Coyotes

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

GLENDALE, ARIZONA --- The Phoenix Coyotes announced today that defenseman Zbynek Michalek, center Martin Hanzal, right wing Radim Vrbata and center Niko Kapanen will participate in the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Halifax and Quebec City, May 2-18.  Michalek, Hanzal and Vrbata will play for their native Czech Republic and Kapanen will represent his home country of Finland.

Hanzal, 21, appeared in 72 games for the Coyotes this season, collecting 8-27-35 and 28 penalty minutes (PIM). In his 1st NHL season he also ranked 2nd on the team in face-off wins (470) and 6th in points (35). 

The Pisek, Czech Republic native will be representing his country for the fourth time in international competition.  Hanzal participated in the 2007 World Junior Championships in Sweden, recording 2-1-3 in 6 games.  In 2006, he registered 0-2-2 in 6 games at the World Junior Championships in British Columbia.  Hanzal also represented his country at the 2005 Under-18 World Junior Championships where he recorded 4-3-7 in 7 games and was named to the tournament’s All-Star Team. Hanzal was selected by the Coyotes in the 1st round (17th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

Michalek, 25, collected 4-13-17 and 34 PIM in 75 games for the Coyotes this season and ranked 4th in points among Coyotes defensemen.  He led the team this season with a +9 rating and ranked 2nd on the team in blocked shots (124). 

A native of Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic, Michalek will be playing in his third World Championships.  He participated in the 2007 World Championships in Moscow, recording 0-1-1 and 4 PIM in 7 games.  In 2006 he earned a silver medal with Team Czech Republic at the World Championships in Latvia as he recorded 3-0-3 and 6 PIM in 9 games. Michalek, who was acquired by the Coyotes from Minnesota on Aug. 26, 2005, has recorded 18-53-71 and 134 PIM in 261 career NHL games with Phoenix and Minnesota.

Vrbata, 26, collected 27-29-56 and 14 PIM in 76 games for the Coyotes this season.
He ranked 2nd on the team in goals and points this season, while establishing new career highs in goals (27), assists (29) and points (56). 

A native of Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, Vrbata will be representing his country for the second time in his career.  He participated in the 2005 World Championships in Vienna, Austria, recording 0-1-1 in 3 games.

Vrbata, who was acquired by the Coyotes from Chicago on Aug. 11, 2007, has recorded 102-124-226 and 118 PIM in 422 career NHL games with Colorado, Carolina, Chicago and Phoenix.

Kapanen, 29, collected 10-18-28 and 34 PIM in 79 games for the Coyotes this season.  A native of Hameenlinna, Finland, Kapanen will be representing Finland at the World Championships for the seventh time.  He also played for the silver medalist Team Finland at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, where he recorded 2-1-3 in 8 games, and the silver medalist Team Finland at the 2004 World Cup where he recorded 1-2-3 in 6 games.  In 2007 he helped Finland to a silver medal as he recorded 7 assists in 9 games.  In 2005 he collected 1-4-5 in 7 World Championship games in Austria.  During the 2004 World Championships Kapanen recorded 3-2-5 in 7 games.  In the 2002 World Championships he tallied 4 assists in 9 games.  At the 2001 World Championships he helped Finland to a silver medal as he collected 3-1-4 in 9 games.  During the 2000 World Championships he recorded 4-3-7 in 9 games to win the bronze medal with Finland.  

Team Czech Republic will open the 2008 World Championships against Denmark in Quebec City on May 2 while Team Finland will open against Germany in Halifax on May 3.

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