The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club, in conjunction with the National Hockey League, the National Hockey League Players Association and the respective National Hockey Federations, have named four Winnipeg Jets to initial rosters for the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
Each team unveiled 16 players to compete in the World Cup of Hockey 2016, the best-on-best international hockey championship from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016, in Toronto.
Byfuglien and Wheeler will represent the United States while Hellebuyck will play for Team North America’s Under-24 team and Ondrej Pavelec will suit up for the Czech Republic.
Byfuglien leads Jets’ defencemen in scoring and is 10th over-all in the league for rear-guards with 40 points (16G, 24A) in 62 games played. Wheeler is the top point-getter for Winnipeg, tallying 57 points (18G, 39A) in 62 games, good for a tie for 12th over-all in league scoring. Hellebuyck has a 13-11-1 record with two shutouts and a 2.34 goals against average with the Jets. He is currently with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Pavelec has a 6-9-2 record this season with a 2.86 goals against average, he missed 33 games this season due to injury.
Eight teams -- Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North America -- will compete in the two-week tournament, featuring more than 150 of the best players in the NHL. All tournament games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
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.
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.