Florida Panthers C Aleksander Barkov (Finland) and RW Tomas Kopecky (Slovakia) were selected today to represent their respective countries at the 2014 Winter Olympics that will be held in Sochi, Russia.
“The entire Florida Panthers organization is very proud of both Aleksander and Tomas and wish them the best of luck in the Winter Olympics,” said Florida Panthers Executive VP/General Manager Dale Tallon. “It is a great honor and privilege to represent your country in the Olympics and they both are most deserving of this selection.”
Barkov, 18, who will be the youngest player on Finland’s roster, will represent his native country for the first time in the Winter Olympics. He currently leads the Panthers and places tied for sixth among the National Hockey League’s rookie leaders with 22 points (7-15-22). On the international level he appeared in six games for Finland at the 2013 World Jr. Championship scoring three goals with four assists. He also played in the 2012 World Jr. Championship.
The Tampere, Finland native, currently owns a career best six-game point scoring streak (1-5-6), which also places him first in the NHL among the league’s rookies. Barkov’s 15 assists places him tied for first among league’s rookies, while he also places first among rookies winning 49.9% of his face-offs. He was selected by Florida in the first round (second overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Kopecky, 31, represented Slovakia at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver playing in seven games, scoring one goal and earning a fourth place finish. The Ilava, Slovakia native, has also represented his country on the international level appearing in the World Championship (2012 & 2013) and the World Jr. Championship (2000, 2001 & 2002).
Since being acquired by Florida in June of 2011, Kopecky has appeared in 165 games for the Panthers registering 68 points (29-39-68). For his career in the National Hockey League, Kopecky has played in 503 games for Detroit (2006-2009), Chicago (2009-2011) and Florida scoring 66 goals with 97 assists, while earning two Stanley Cup championships (2008 & 2010).
Fans can follow Winter Olympic news on FloridaPanthers.com and through Panthers social media (@FlaPanthers).
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