The Phoenix Coyotes today announced that defenseman Zbynek Michalek and center Niko Kapanen will participate in the 2007 IIHF World Championship in Moscow, Russia, April 27 – May 13. Michalek will play for his native Czech Republic and Kapanen will represent his home country of Finland.
Michalek, 24, registered 4-24-28 to finish 2nd among Coyotes’ defensemen in scoring this season. His 24 assists ranked T-2nd overall on the club. For the second consecutive season, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Jindrichuv Hradec, Czech Republic led the Coyotes with an average of 23:39 time on ice per game. Michalek has played in 178 consecutive NHL games over the last three seasons.
Michalek helped lead the Czech Republic to a silver medal at the 2006 World Championship in Latvia, scoring 3 goals in 9 games in his first appearance in the tournament.
The Coyotes acquired Michalek from the Minnesota Wild for Erik Westrum and Dustin Wood on Aug. 26, 2005.
Kapanen, 28, collected 2-7-9 in 19 games with the Coyotes this season. In 79 combined games with the Atlanta Thrashers and the Coyotes in 2006-07, the Hameenlinna, Finland native registered 6-16-22 and 28 penalty minutes (PIM).
The upcoming tournament will mark Kapanen’s 6th World Championship (2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000). The 5-foot-8, 180-pound forward also represented Finland at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games and the 2004 World Cup.
The Coyotes acquired Kapanen off waivers from Atlanta on Feb. 27, 2007.
Michalek and Kapanen’s participation in the tournament gives the Coyotes a total of four players who will compete in the 2007 IIHF World Championship. As previously announced, Coyotes captain Shane Doan
will play for Team Canada while defenseman Keith Ballard will represent the United States.
Check back with PhoenixCoyotes.com for daily updates throughout the tournament.