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by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

Czech Natives Hlavac, Vasicek and Vrbata to Play as a Line

RALEIGH, N.C. – Six Carolina Hurricanes players will represent their countries at the 2003 International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championships, April 26 – May 11 in Finland. Jan Hlavac, Josef Vasicek and Radim Vrbata were each selected to the Czech Republic squad and will play as a line to start the tournament. Brad DeFauw was chosen to represent the United States, Arturs Irbe will backstop his native Latvia and Tomas Malec will play for the 2002 gold-medal-winning Slovakian team.

Hlavac joined the Hurricanes during the 2002-03 season and recorded nine goals, 15 assists (24 points) and 22 penalty minutes in 52 games with Carolina. Vasicek has played three seasons with the Hurricanes and notched 10 goals and earned 10 assists (20 points) in 57 games during 2002-03. Vrbata joined Carolina following the March 11 trading deadline and scored five goals in his first 10 games with the Hurricanes.

DeFauw was recalled from Carolina on March 9 and made his NHL and Hurricanes debut March 10 against Columbus. He became the first player in Hurricanes franchise history to notch two goals in his debut game and finished his first NHL season with three goals in nine games. DeFauw also scored 11 goals and had 12 assists (23 points) in 61 games Lowell of the American Hockey League in 2002-03.

Irbe will represent Latvia for the seventh time in World Championships play. Since Latvia joined Pool A in 1997, Irbe has recorded a 2.47 goals-against average in 26 games. Malec, 20, will compete in his first World Championships after completing his first NHL season. Malec recorded two assists and 43 penalty minutes in 41 games with Carolina after his recall from Lowell on Dec. 11.

For more information regarding the IIHF World Championships, please visit the tournament’s official website,

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