Several Dallas Stars will hit the ice this weekend as the 2015 IIHF World Championship gets underway in Czech Republic. Teams from 16 countries will be vying for gold at the tournament, which runs from Friday through May 17.
Seven Dallas players and two of the team’s prospects will play at this year’s tournament. Canada has the most Dallas players on the roster with forwards Cody Eakin, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza all accepting the call from Stars GM Jim Nill, who is running the Canadian team this year.
“You can’t say no to your GM,” Seguin said.
This will be the first time Seguin has played for Canada at a major IIHF tournament. Seguin’s previous international experience with Canada included the Spengler Cup and the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.
“I didn’t play at World Juniors, I got cut. Obviously, Olympics didn’t make,” Seguin said. “I was on the edge of making these teams and since then I think I’ve been playing better hockey. I do want to show them that I can play on this big ice and that I can do well.”
Eakin, who has played for Canada at the World Juniors, will suit up for the first time at the World Championship. Spezza is a veteran at the World Championship, playing in it three times before along with three World Juniors. Spezza will serve as an alternate captain for Canada.
“It’s always a huge honor to play for Canada,” Spezza told TSN as the team prepared for the tournament in Austria. “Obviously, we are all disappointed with how our seasons went back home and this gives us an opportunity to step up and finish the year on a good note. When you get called by Canada it’s fun, and you never know when it is going to be the last time.”
Defenseman John Klingberg and goaltender Jhonas Enroth are playing for Sweden. It’s the first time at the tournament for Klingberg, who won gold with Sweden at the 2012 World Juniors. Enroth helped lead Sweden to a gold medal at the 2013 World Championship.
Forward Antoine Roussel will make his third appearance at the Worlds for France. Roussel led France and tied for fifth among all players in scoring at last year’s tournament with 11 points (six goals, five assists) in eight games.
Defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and Dallas defense prospect Esa Lindell both will play for Finland. It’s the first time at the tournament for both players. Lindell was a member of Finland’s gold-medal winning team at the 2014 World Juniors.
Stars goaltending prospect Jack Campbell will represent the USA for the second time at the World Championship.
Forward Valeri Nichushkin attended Russia’s World Championship camp but was one of the final players cut from the roster. Russia’s GM expressed reservations about Nichushkin missing so much time this season due to hip surgery.
Group A: Sweden, Canada, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, France, Germany, Austria
Group B: Finland, Russia, United States, Slovakia, Norway, Belarus, Slovenia, Denmark
The 16 teams play a preliminary round with the top four teams in each group advancing to the playoff round.
NBC Sports will provide TV coverage and live streaming of Team USA games on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Live Extra. NBC will provide coverage of all playoff rounds as well on both NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Live Extra.
Finland vs. USA, 9:15 a.m. (NBC Sports Network/NBC Sports Live Extra)
Latvia vs. Canada, 9:15 a.m.
Norway vs. Russia, 1:15 p.m.
Sweden vs. Czech Republic, 1:15 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.