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Eric Staal named Canada captain for World Champ.

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Hockey Canada announced Thursday that Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes will serve as the national team's captain for the upcoming IIHF World Hockey Championship in Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden.

Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets and Stephane Robidas of the Dallas Stars will serve as alternates.

"It's an honor, obviously, to play for your country and play with some of the great players we've got here," Staal said Thursday.

"It also means I'm getting older and I've been around a little while," the 28-year-old said. "We've got some young faces in there and guys that are eager to get started. I'm glad I'm going to get an opportunity to play alongside these guys and have a chance to play in a good tournament and try and win a medal."

Staal, who has a Stanley Cup, World Championship and Olympic gold medal to his credit, will lead an impressive forward unit on a Canadian team that opens the tournament May 4 against Denmark. Canada's deep group of forwards features nine players selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, including Staal's brother and Hurricanes teammate Jordan.

Eric Staal last competed in the World Championship in 2007, when he won gold on a Canadian team that defeated Finland 4-2 in the championship game.

Ladd and Robidas are competing in the World Championship for the third time.

"Eric, coming off a gold-medal win in the [2010] Olympics, I think he knows what it takes to win," Canadian coach Lindy Ruff said. "If you look at the other two guys, both players have been involved, in one way or the other, in big games throughout their careers whether it's for Canada or for their individual teams. All those players are players that the younger guys look up to and respect."

The Staals are among seven Carolina players in the tournament. Jeff Skinner and Jay Harrison will play for Canada; Jamie McBain and Justin Faulk will compete for the United States; and Jiri Tlusty will suit up for the Czech Republic.
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