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Five Wings' prospects in 2012 WJC

by Zack Crawford / Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have five prospects — three draft picks from 2011 and two from 2010 —who will competing for their countries in the upcoming World Junior Championships in Alberta, Canada.

The tournament, which begins December 26 and concludes with the gold medal game on January 5, will be held in two different Canadian cities – at Calgary’s 19,289-seat Scotiabank Saddledome and at the 1
Tomas Jurco, the Red Wings' first selection from last summer's draft, will play for Slovakia in the 2012 WJC.
6,839-capacity Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The WJC has been held annually since 1977. Last year’s tournament took place at HSBC Arena in Buffalo and Niagra University’s Dwyer Arena in Lewiston, N.Y. Russia won the gold medal over Canada (5-3) in the championship game, and USA beat Sweden, 4-2, for the bronze medal.

Four prospects represented their countries, and the Red Wings, at the 2011 WJC: Mitch Callahan (USA), Teemu Pulkkinen (Finland), Calle Jarnkrok (Sweden) and Andrej Nestrasil (Czech Republic).

The following Wings’ prospects have been selected by their countries to play in the international tourney:

Mattias Backman (Sweden)
Defenseman, Linkoping Jr. (SWE – JR)
DOB: October 3, 1992
Hometown: Arvidsjaur, Sweden
Drafted: Round 5, No. 146 overall in 2011
Tidbit: In the Linkoping Junior circuit, Backman has picked up 9 points (2 goals and 7 assists) in 34 games.

Tomas Jurco (Slovakia)
Forward, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
DOB: December 28, 1992
Hometown: Kosice, Slovakia
Drafted: Round 2, No. 35 overall in 2011
Tidbit: In 30 games with the Sea Dogs this season, Jurco has 21 goals (2nd highest on the team) and 24 assists for a total of 45 points (3rd highest on the team).

Petr Mrazek (Czech Republic)
Goalie, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
DOB: February 14, 1992
Hometown: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Drafted: Round 5, No. 141 overall in 2010
Tidbit: Currently in his third season with the Ottawa 67’s, Mrazek has recorded 17 wins and 7 losses in 28 games played. He has 1 shutout and a 3.06 goals against average.

Teemu Pulkkinen (Finland)
Forward, Jokerit Helsinki (SM-liiga)
DOB: January 2, 1992
Hometown: Vantaa, Finland
Drafted: Round 4, No. 111 overall in 2010
Tidbit: In the Jokerit Junior circuit, this 5’11” right winger has tallied 29 points (13 goals and 16 assists) in 39 games played. The 2012 WJHC will mark his second appearance at the tournament; in 2011, Pulkkinen accumulated 3 goals and 6 assists before Finland was knocked out by Russia in the quarterfinals and subsequently beat by Switzerland in the 5th place playoff.

Marek Tvrdon (Slovakia)
Forward, Vancouver Giants (WHL)
DOB: January 31, 1993
Hometown: Nitra, Slovakia
Drafted: Round 4, No. 115 overall in 2011
Tidbit: Currently the 19th highest scorer in the WHL, Tvrdon has acquired 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points (2nd highest on the team) this season, his second with the Giants. Last year, he played only 12 games before a season-ending injury required surgery on his shoulder.

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