Finally, the wait is over.
Team Canada announced on Wednesday afternoon in Vancouver the 23-man roster, as well as the three-man taxi squad, that will represent Canada at the Winter Olympics set for Turin, Italy, in February. Ottawa Senators defenceman Wade Redden, left-winger Dany Heatley and centre Jason Spezza have made the grade. Redden and Heatley were named to the 23-man roster while Spezza will be one of three players available on the taxi squad in case of injury. While all three have had numerous opportunities to represent their country in the past, this is the first time any of them will don the red-and-white in the Olympics.
A thrilled Redden spoke about his reaction after receiving a phone call with the good news from Team Canada general manager Kevin Lowe just after 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
"It's exciting for a player because everyone knows how important it is to have a chance to go and play. It's going to be unbelievable."
Heatley has made a great debut with the Senators, enjoying a record-setting 22-game point-scoring streak to start the season. He said he expects to be used in an offensive role with Team Canada as well, but he's willing to make any changes necessary to offer a contribution.
"Obviously, I'm a scorer or offensive guy and I will probably play in that role. I will try anything though to help the team win."
In this, his coming-out year, Jason Spezza, who has teamed up with Heatley and Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson to produce the NHL's most explosive scoring line, said he's looking forward to seeing what the Olympic Games are all about. He also knows injuries are part of the game, so there may be a chance he'll play.
"I'm going to get experience over there by being around the guys. Injuries can happen, so I'll stay ready and remain sharp in case I get into the lineup."
There was more good news to share in Philadelphia, where the Senators are preparing for a Thursday night match against the Flyers. Senators rookie defenceman Christoph Schubert received word that he was chosen to represent his native country of Germany.
"It's good to see that we're (the Senators) pretty well represented," Redden said.
Look for a few more Senators to be selected by their respective countries when the official deadline for Olympic rosters takes place tomorrow.