GLENDALE - Five members of the Coyotes are slated to participate in the upcoming 2017 IIHF World Championship, which begins Friday, May 5.
Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy, and forwards Christian Dvorak and Clayton Keller are on Team USA's roster for the annual tournament. Murphy, who has played 38 games for Team USA in international competitions, was named team captain for the 23-man unit.
Meanwhile, Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will play for Sweden, and Coyotes forward Tobias Rieder will play for Germany.
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This year's tournament will be the fourth for Murphy, who served as an alternate captain for Team USA at last year's event. Murphy also played for Team USA in this tournament in 2015 and 2014.
"You're honored every time you get asked to play," Murphy said. "It's fun to play for your country in amazing parts of the world against other countries in front of a lot of people. Plus it allows you to keep playing. It's hard being done (in the NHL) so early, so it's nice to get a chance to start building for next year right away."
Dvorak and Keller will be making their debuts at the IIHF World Championship, although both played for Team USA at recent IIHF World Junior Championships. Dvorak won a bronze medal with Team USA in 2016 and Keller led Team USA to a gold medal in 2017.
Ekman-Larsson has played for Sweden on many occasions, including at this event twice before. He also won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Like Murphy, Rieder also has played at the IIHF World Championship the past three years. He also played for Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
As fate would have it, Team USA will play Team Germany in the first game for both teams on Friday. The game can be seen on NHL Network at 11:15 a.m. Arizona time. NHL Network will televise all Team USA games in this event.
Sixteen nations will participate in the IIHF World Championship. Cologne, Germany and Paris, France are the host cities. Per the IIHF web site, the 16 teams are divided into two groups for the Preliminary Round. The top-four ranked teams of each group advance to the quarterfinals that will be played cross-over. The first-place team in each preliminary-round group plays the fourth-place team of the other group, while the second-place team plays the third-place team of the other group: 1A-4B, 2A-3B, 1B-4A, 2B-3A. The winning teams advance to the semifinals. Both semifinal games will be played at Lanxess Arena in Cologne/GER. The winning teams of the semifinal games advance to the gold medal game on May 21 while the semi-final losing teams play for bronze.