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Four Islanders Named to World Cup of Hockey Rosters

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

The New York Islanders had four players named to various rosters for the World Cup Of Hockey 2016. John Tavares will skate for Team Canada, Jaroslav Halak and Frans Nielsen will play for Team Europe and Nikolay Kulemin will join Team Russia for the two-week tournament in Toronto.

All eight teams -- Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America -- announced rosters of at least 16 players today. Each of the eight teams will have a tournament roster of 23 players: 20 skaters and three goaltenders. The balance of each team’s roster will be announced no later than June 1, 2016.

Tavares leads all Islanders in scoring with 50 points (23 goals, 27 assists) in 58 games. A native of Oakville, Ontario, the Islanders captain and three-time NHL All Star won gold with Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s also represented Canada at three World Championships (2012 - Finland and Sweden; 2011 - Slovakia; 2010 - Germany), scoring a point-per-game or better in each tournament. Tavares also played for Team Canada at two World Junior Championships (2009 - Ottawa; 2008 - Czech Republic), winning a gold medal at each tournament and was named tournament MVP in 2009.


Halak has a .919 save percentage and a 2.28 goals-against average through 34 games this season with the Islanders. The Bratislava, Slovakia native represented his country at the 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi) Winter Olympic Games, finishing fourth in 2010. He’s also skated with Slovakia at three World Championships (2011 - Slovakia; 2009 - Switzerland; 2007 – Russia), the 2005 (USA) and 2004 (Finland) World Junior Championships, and the 2003 (Russia) and 2002 (Slovakia) World Under-18 Junior Hockey Championships. He captured a silver medal in 2003 and was named to the tournament All-Star Team and the top goaltender of the tournament.


Nielsen is third in Islanders scoring with 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) through 61 games. A native of Herning, Denmark, Nielsen became the first Danish-born/raised citizen to play in an NHL game when he made his Islanders debut in 2007. In international play, Nielsen has represented Denmark at eight World Championships (2012 - Finland and Sweden; 2010 - Germany; 2007 - Russia; 2006 - Latvia; 2005 - Austria; 2004 - Czech Republic; 2003 - Finland, 2002 - Hungary [Div. 1, Group B]). The Islanders alternate captain also skated with Denmark at four World Junior Championships (2004, 2003, 2002, 2001) and two Under-18 World Championships (2002, 2001). 

Kulemin has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) through 61 games during his second season with the Islanders and eighth NHL campaign. The Magnitogorsk, Russia, native represented his country at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s also skated with Russia at seven World Championships (2015 - Czech Republic; 2014 - Belarus; 2012 - Finland/Sweden; 2011 - Slovakia; 2010 - Germany; 2007 - Russia; 2006 - Latvia), winning gold in 2014 and 2012, silver in 2015 and 2010, and bronze in 2007. Kulemin won silver at the 2006 World Junior Championships (Vancouver) and gold at the 2004 World Under-18 Junior Championships (Belarus).  


The World Cup of Hockey 2016 is a joint effort of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). The eight teams are split into two Groups, Group A and Group B, for the Preliminary Round (Sept. 17-22), when each team will play its three Group opponents in a round-robin format. Placed in Group A are Team Canada, Team Czech Republic and Team USA, plus Team Europe, a pan-European roster of players from birth countries outside of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden. The four teams in Group B are Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team North America, a selection of the top players from Canada and the United States who are 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016.

The top two finishers in each of Group A and Group B will advance to the Semifinals (Sept. 24-25), where each qualifier will face an elimination game against a team from the other Group. The two Semifinal winners will meet in the Final, a best-of-three series on Sept. 27, Sept. 29 and, if necessary, Oct. 1.

Live coverage of all tournament games will be provided by Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada and ESPN in the United States. A complete broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

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