SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … While the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs march on, hockey’s annual IIHF World Championships are being held in Quebec City and Halifax. The preliminary rosters for the tournament, which begins Friday, feature 149 American Hockey League graduates representing their countries and competing for medals.
All 16 participating countries have at least one AHL alumnus on board, and the list includes 28 former American Hockey League All-Stars, among them 2005 AHL MVP Jason Spezza (Canada), Martin St. Louis (Canada), Eric Staal (Canada), Patrik Elias (Czech Republic), Dmitri Kalinin (Russia), Karri Ramo (Finland), Mikko Koivu (Finland), Zach Parise (USA) and Drew Stafford (USA).
Twenty-one participants played in the American Hockey League during the 2007-08 season, including Hershey’s Sami Lepisto (Finland), Bridgeport’s Frans Nielsen (Denmark), Houston’s Morten Madsen (Denmark), Iowa’s Marius Holtet (Norway), Providence’s David Krejci (Czech Republic), Rochester’s Andrej Sekera (Slovakia), Toronto’s Anton Stralman (Sweden), Manchester’s Erik Ersberg (Sweden), and Milwaukee’s Janne Niskala and Antti Pihlstrom (Finland).
Also competing in the World Championships are former Calder Cup champions such as Tomas Fleischmann (Czech Republic), Mike Green (Canada), Patrick Sharp (Canada), Milan Hnilicka (Czech Republic), Dennis Seidenberg (Germany) and Rickard Wallin (Sweden).
AHL experience can be found behind the bench as well, where 1996 Calder Cup champion John Tortorella is serving as the United States’ head coach, assisted by former Providence Bruins coach Mike Sullivan and current Lowell Devils head coach Kurt Kleinendorst. Glen Hanlon (asst. coach, Belarus), Pat Burns (asst. coach, Canada), Doug Shedden (head coach, Finland) are all former AHL head coaches as well.
Other notable AHL alumni at the 2008 World Championships include Ryan Getzlaf (Canada), Cam Ward (Canada), Olli Jokinen (Finland), Cristobal Huet (France), Maxim Afinogenov (Russia), Martin Gerber (Switzerland), Jason Pominville (USA) and Tim Thomas (USA).
AHL Alumni on World Championship Rosters (as of 5/1/08):
Konstantin Koltsov, F
Alexander Zhurik, D
Czech Republic (15)
Sebastien Bordeleau, F
Eddy Ferhi, G
Cristobal Huet, G
Yorick Treille, F
Tomaz Razingar, F
United States (20)
*indicates former AHL All-Star
†indicates player played in the AHL in 2007-08