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Cats to Compete for Gold at 2006 Winter Olympics

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Luongo, Jokinen, Olesz, Stumpel, Sprukts, Wichser & Martin to Represent Native Countries in Turin, Italy

SUNRISE, Fla. – C Olli Jokinen (Finland), LW Rostislav Olesz (Czech Republic), C Jozef Stumpel (Slovakia), along with Panthers prospects C Janis Sprukts (Latvia) and C Adrian Wichser (Switzerland) were all named to their respective country's Olympic ice hockey teams today. They will all compete in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy that will take place in February.

Jokinen, 27, will make his second appearance in the Winter Olympics. He represented Finland in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City recording two goals and one assist. He has also played for his country in eight World Championship competitions, while also aiding Finland in its run to the 2004 World Cup Finals.

Olesz, 20, has represented the Czech Republic once in international competition, guiding his native country to the Bronze Medal at the 2005 World Junior Championship in North Dakota. He finished tied for the tournament lead, with seven goals in seven games played.

Stumpel, 33, will also make his second appearance in the Winter Olympics. He represented Slovakia in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City scoring a pair of goals with one assist. Stumpel has also played for his country in six World Championship competitions, as well as the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

Sprukts, 24, has represented his country at the past three World Championships, recording two goals with one assist in six games played during the 2005 competition. He was also selected to play at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but he did not participate in the tournament.

Wichser, 25, has represented his country at the past five World Championships, notching three assists in five games played during the 2005 competition.

Jokinen, Olesz, Stumpel, Sprukts, and Wichser join G Roberto Luongo (Team Canada) and Head Coach Jacques Martin (Team Canada) as the Panthers representatives at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

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