WILL MAKE HIS SIXTH APPEARANCE IN FEB. 2 GAME IN LOS ANGELES
RALEIGH, NC (Jan. 12, 2002) - The National Hockey League announced today that Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh has been selected by the fans as one of the two starting defenseman for the World All-Star team in the 52nd NHL All-Star Game, which takes place on February 2 in Los Angeles.
Ozolinsh, a native of Latvia, came in second among World Team defensemen in fan voting behind Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom. He will make his sixth all-star appearance. He has been voted a starter five times, and this is the third consecutive year Ozolinsh will be in the starting lineup. Ozolinsh became the second player in franchise history to be voted as a starter by the fans when he was voted to the World Team in 2001. Brendan Shanahan was named a starter for the Eastern Conference all-star team in 1996.
Ozolinsh leads all Carolina defensemen and is seventh on the team overall in scoring with 23 points (4 goals, 19 assists) in 44 games. He tallied 44 points (12g, 32a) in 72 games with the Hurricanes in 2000-01 after being acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in a draft-day trade on June 24, 2000.
Ozolinsh and Hurricanes goaltender Arturs Irbe have been granted permission to participate in any Preliminary Round game of the 2002 Men’s Olympic Hockey tournament for their native Latvia that does not conflict with a Hurricanes game. Irbe and Ozolinsh, both natives of Latvia’s capital city of Riga, may join their national team for Latvia’s games on Feb. 9 against Austria and Feb. 12 against Germany. The Hurricanes have games at Anaheim on Feb. 8 and at San Jose on Feb. 10. Irbe and Ozolinsh will miss Latvia’s qualifier on Feb. 10 against Slovakia due to the conflict with Carolina’s game at San Jose.