RALEIGH, NC—Hockey Canada today announced the roster for its Men’s Ice Hockey team for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Hurricanes forward Eric Staal was named to the 23-man roster. Canada opens play on Feb. 16 against Norway.
Staal, 25, leads the Hurricanes with 26 points (8g, 18a) this season, despite missing 10 games with an upper-body injury from Nov. 4-Nov. 23. Since returning from that injury, the Thunder Bay, Ont., native has totaled five goals and 16 assists (21 points) in 16 games. Prior to missing time this season, Staal had played in 349 consecutive games for Carolina, the longest consecutive games played streak for the franchise since it relocated to North Carolina. Drafted by the Hurricanes with the second-overall selection in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Staal has totaled 172 goals and 212 assists (384 points) in 438 career regular-season games with the Hurricanes. He has notched 19 goals and 24 assists (43 points) in 43 career Stanley Cup playoff games for Carolina, helping the Hurricanes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006 and reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009.
Staal has yet to make his Olympic debut for Canada, though he served on his home country’s “taxi squad” during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. He helped Canada capture the gold medal at the 2007 IIHF World Championships and the silver medal at the 2008 IIHF World Championships. Staal is one of just six NHL players to have 30-plus goals in each of the last four seasons (2005-06 through 2008-09), and has appeared in three consecutive NHL All-Star games, earning Most Valuable Player honors at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta.