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Seven Ducks Named Olympians

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
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The Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday morning had seven players from the organization representing three countries named to their respective 2010 Olympic Hockey Teams. Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were named to Team Canada, with Niedermayer being named team captain. Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne were named to the Finnish team, with Koivu being named captain and Selanne as an alternate captain. Jonas Hiller was also named to Team Switzerland. In addition, Anaheim prospect Luca Sbisa, currently playing for Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League (WHL), has also been named to the Switzerland roster. The United States Olympic Hockey Team will be announced following the NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Fenway Park. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games take place in Vancouver, British Columbia from Feb. 12-28.

Click here for Olympic bios on each

“It’s great to see the Ducks organization represented by a multitude of players from three different countries at the Olympic Winter Games,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “We wish all of our players the very best of luck in the upcoming tournament.”

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Niedermayer, 36 (8/31/73), has won four Stanley Cup championships and is the only player in hockey history to have won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Championship, World Cup, Memorial Cup and World Junior title. He helped lead the Ducks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2007, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player.

“It's just an honor to be on the team, then to be named captain of the club is an honor as well," Niedermayer said. "I'm just going to do the best I can, not really change anything or do anything drastically different. I guess in some ways, I won't make a huge deal about it. You just go about your business and try to be prepared and be at your best when you need to be.”

In the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, Niedermayer scored 1-1=2 points with four penalty minutes (PIM) in six games to help Canada win the gold medal. In six international tournaments, the Cranbrook, British Columbia native has played in 43 games for Team Canada, collecting 6-7=13 points with 41 PIM.

“It’s going to be a huge thrill being in front of your home fans,” Niedermayer said. “I played a world junior tournament a long time ago in Canada, and the support and enthusiasm they have for hockey and for our team is unbelievable. I expect it to be similar and probably more so in Vancouver.”

In addition to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Niedermayer played for Team Canada in the 1991 and 1992 World Junior Championships, 1996 and 2004 World Cups and 2004 World Championships. He has won the gold medal in four of the tournaments, including the 1991 World Juniors, 2002 Olympics and 2004 World Cup and World Championships. At the 1996 World Cup, he helped the Canadian team finish second to capture the silver medal.

Getzlaf, 24 (5/10/85), will make his first appearance at the Olympic Winter Games and sixth for Team Canada in international competition.

“It’s a tremendous honor to make this team," Getzlaf said. "Obviously it was something that I was looking forward to and wanted to be a part of since Day 1.”

A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, Getzlaf won the gold medal at the 2003 World U-18 Championships and 2005 World Junior Championships, and the silver medal at the 2004 World Junior Championships and 2008 World Championships. He also appeared for Team Canada at the 2002 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in his international debut.

“The biggest thing I’ve realized playing for Canada over the years, we’re expected to win every year,” Getzlaf said. “All the fans, players in general, expect to win, and that’s all we’re kind of going there for. Whether it’s in Canada or somewhere else, the pressure really doesn’t change for us. It’s a gold medal or we’re disappointed.”

Perry, 24 (5/16/85), will make his Olympic Winter Games debut with Team Canada in February. Perry made his international debut four years ago, scoring 2-5=7 points in six games to help Team Canada to the gold medal at the 2005 World Junior Championships. A native of Peterborough, Ontario, Perry teamed with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron on Canada’s top line at the 2005 tournament.

“It was something I’ve been waiting for for a long time, and the dream finally came true,” Perry said. “It’s definitely an honor. It’s something that I wanted to happen. I wanted to be there. I just got that chance and I finally got that phone call this morning. It’s going to be fun and it’s going to be a great thing playing in front of your country.”

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Koivu, 35 (11/23/74), has served as captain for Team Finland since 1998 and won medals in all three Olympic appearances, including silver at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, and bronze in 1998 at Nagano, Japan and 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway. Koivu has also won gold at the 1995 World Championships, silver at the 1994 and 1999 World Championships, and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and bronze at the 2008 World Championships.

A native of Turku, Finland, Koivu has appeared in 97 international games and 14 tournaments for Team Finland, collecting 34-76=110 points. At the 2006 Games, Koivu was named a tournament All-Star and tied for the scoring lead (with Teemu Selanne) after earning 3-8=11 points in eight games. In 1998 at Nagano, he finished tied for first in scoring with Selanne with 2-8=10 points in six contests. At the World Championships, Koivu was the leading scorer in 1999 (4-12=16 points in 10 games), the tournament’s Best Forward in 1995 and 1999, and a Tournament All-Star in 1994, 1995 and 1999.

“It doesn’t happen too often that you get asked to be a captain for your country and I am extremely proud to wear the ‘C’ on that Finnish jersey," Koivu said.

Koivu will join brother Mikko, a center for the Minnesota Wild on the Finnish team. “This might be my last Olympic games,” Koivu said. “One thing I want to do is really go enjoy it and hopefully have some success at the same time.”

Selanne, 39 (7/3/70), will compete in his fifth Olympic Winter Games, having totaled 20-15=35 points in 25 previous Olympic contests. He was named the Best Forward and an All-Star at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, finishing tied for first in overall scoring with 3-8=11 points in 11 games. In 1992 at Albertville, France, Selanne tied for first in goals and fourth in scoring (7-4=11 points). He won bronze in the 1998 Olympics while co-leading the tournament with 4-6=10 points. Additionally, he led the Finnish team with three goals in 2002.

“It’s my fifth Olympics and it’s always a big honor to put your home country’s jersey on and go compete against the best players in the world," Selanne said.

A native of Helsinki, Finland, Selanne has appeared on several of his country’s national teams over the past 20 years, including Finland’s World Championship teams (1991, 1996, 1999, 2003 & 2008) and World/Canada Cup participants (1991, 1996 & 2004). He helped Finland to the silver medal at the 1999 World Championships while also being voted the event’s MVP. In 131 games for Team Finland in international play, Selanne has scored 71-70-141 points.

"We’ve always had a fun time together on the national team,” Selanne said of playing with Koivu. “I think that’s going to be a nice bonus for the season and a very special year overall.”

Of the Finnish team, which won the silver on the '06 Olympics, Selanne said, "We’re underdogs for sure. I think the last Olympics proved you never know what’s going to happen. I think most of the (Olympic) guys come from the NHL. We play against each other everyday. Whoever is going to be hot in those 12-13 days is going to win. That’s why this tournament is so special because you never know what’s going to happen.”

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Hiller, 27 (2/12/82), will appear in his first Olympic Winter Games with Switzerland in 2010. It will also mark his fourth international appearance with the Swiss National Team. Hiller was part of Team Switzerland at the 2006 World Championships but did not appear in a game. In the 2007 & 2008 World Championships, the native of Felben Wellhausen, Switzerland went 4-5-0 with a 2.59 GAA and a .912 SV% in nine appearances overall.

“It was always a dream,” Hiller said. “If you grow up, especially in Switzerland, where probably the Olympics are bigger than the NHL because the national team is closer than the NHL. That was definitely one of the dreams, and having a chance to play for the national team in the Olympic tournament is great.”

Sbisa, 19 (1/29/90), is currently in the midst of his second international appearance with Switzerland at the 2010 World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Sbisa’s international debut came at the 2008 World Junior Championships. He has appeared in eight games for Team Switzerland, going scoreless.

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