The Philadelphia Flyers have four players who will represent their respective countries at the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to be held from Feb. 12-28, 2010.
Hockey Canada announced today that two Philadelphia Flyers, center Mike Richards and defenseman Chris Pronger
, have been named to the 23-man roster of Canada's 2010 Olympic hockey team. In addition, Pronger has been named an alternate captain for the team.
|Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger will be appearing in his fourth Olympic Games. (Getty Images) |
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen
was named today to Finland’s Olympic ice hockey roster, while it was also announced that defenseman Oskars Bartulis has been named to the roster for Team Latvia.
Richards, 24, will be appearing in his first Winter Olympic Games for Team Canada. A native of Kenora, Ontario, Richards currently leads the Flyers with 31 points and 16 goals, including 15 points and seven goals on the power play. Internationally, Richards was captain of Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Championships, recording five points (1G,4A) in six games, as Canada won the gold medal. He was a member of Team Canada which captured the silver medal at the 2004 World Junior Championships and the gold medal at the 2002 under-18 Eight Nations Cup.
“I’m excited to be there and to get the opportunity to represent the country. There has been a big build up to it and it’s nice to be named,” said Richards.
Pronger, 35, will be a member of Team Canada in the Winter Olympics for the fourth time (1998, 2002, 2006), and for the second time, was named as an alternate captain. He was previously named an alternate captain and helped lead Canada to the gold medal in 2002. Pronger has also represented Canada in the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 1992 World Junior Championships.
“I’m very excited about the team,” said Pronger. “It’s got a good mix of veterans and youth, and some guys have been around and played on teams, whether it be on 2006 or 2002, and certainly experience is going to be an important factor I think in the tournament.”
A native of Dryden, Ontario, Pronger has 24 points (5G,19A) in 38 games for the Flyers. He leads the team in assists (19), blocks (91) and average time on ice (26:30). His 24 points are tied for third on the team and leads the Flyers defense in scoring, while also ranking second on the team in plus/minus (+9).
Timonen, 34, will be making his fourth appearance for Team Finland in the Winter Olympics (1998, 2002, 2006). A native of Kuopio, Finland, Timonen has 20 points (3G,17A) with the Flyers this season and is currently tied for second on the team with his 17 assists. Internationally, he has won a silver medal in 2006, where he posted five points (1G,5A) in eight games, while also taking home a bronze medal in 1998. In addition to his Olympic experience, he has represented Finland at the World Championships five times (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005), winning a silver medal in 2001.
"It is an honor, obviously, to represent your country,” said Timonen. “Hopefully we can play as good as everybody else but I think we have a good chance. This is probably my last time going there and I am really looking forward it."
Timonen also helped Finland finish second at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, leading all defensemen (3rd overall in World Cup) with six points (1G,5A) and has also participated three World Junior Championships with Finland (1993, 1994, 1995).
A native of Ogre, Latvia, Bartulis, 22, has five assists and 12 penalty minutes in 24 games with the Flyers since being recalled on Nov. 9 from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. He made his National Hockey League debut on Nov. 12 vs. Ottawa and on Dec. 2, signed a multi-year contract extension with the Flyers. Internationally, Bartulis has represented Latvia at the 2006 and 2007 World Junior Under-20 Championships, and was named best defenseman for the 2007 tournament, Division 1.
"It always feels good to play for your country, especially now in the Olympics,” said Bartulis. “This is the first time for me. In the summer it was like 50-50 for me [in terms of making the team] but the season went pretty well for me and I made the team."