Three Minnesota Wild centers - Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Marc Chouinard and Wes Walz - have been named by Team Canada to the country’s "long list" of players who could skate for the defending gold medal champions in the 2006 Winter Olympics. A total of 81 players were named to the list.
Bouchard, the Wild’s first round pick (eighth overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft is currently tied for the team lead in scoring with seven points. Bouchard is in his third season with Minnesota and has 49 points on 14 goals and 35 assists in 117 career NHL games. He represented Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2002, when he recorded four goals and eight assists in helping the team to a silver medal finish.
Chouinard, in his second season with Minnesota, is tied with Bouchard for the team lead in points. Already this season, he has recorded two three-point games including a hat trick in a season opening win over Calgary and a three-assist game in a 4-1 win over Anaheim on October 16. Chouinard set career highs in goals (11), assists (10), and points (21) in his first season with the Wild in 2003-2004.
Walz, one of four Wild team members who was with the team during its inaugural season, has notched two goals and an assist in six games this year. Walz has registered at least 30 points in three of four years with Minnesota, and he was a finalist for the NHL’s Selke Trophy, given to the League’s best defensive forward.
During the IIHF Olympic Meetings in Portugal on September 15, 2005, the IOC, IIHF, NHL, NHLPA and all participating hockey countries came to an agreement, which determined that each country had until October 24 to submit a long list of players to the IIHF, the NHL and the NHLPA.Click here to see the entire list of players on Canada’s Long List.