(Photo: Getty Images)
Last Friday, the National Hockey League reached an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation that would send its players to Sochi to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics. NHL players have been participating in the Olympics since 1998.
Countries began to release their preliminary rosters for the Olympics on Monday. Several members of the Philadelphia Flyers were selected.
The Russians were the first to announce its preliminary roster. The 35 players that were selected will compete to represent Russia in Sochi. The Flyers have no Russian players on their roster, however former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky was one of five goaltenders selected. Ilya Bryzgalov was not selected to compete for a spot.
Erik Gustafsson and Nicklas Grossmann will be heading to Stockholm, Sweden in August, as they have made their countries’ preliminary roster. The two Flyers will be competing with several talented defensemen, such as Erik Karlsson and Niklas Kronwall, for a chance to represent Sweden in Sochi.
Canada was the next country to announce its preliminary roster. Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux will be the only player representing Philadelphia. Giroux is a lock to make Canada’s final roster and compete in his first Olympic games. Ken Hitchcock, a former head coach of the Flyers, will be an assistant coach.
Kimmo Timonen will be given the opportunity to represent Finland in the Olympics for the fifth time. He is one of 16 defenseman on Finland’s camp roster. Timonen, 38, has won two bronze medals (1998, 2010) and one silver (2006).
There will be no Philadelphia Flyers representing the United States of America at Sochi in 2014. James van Riemsdyk, a former first-round pick of the Flyers, has been invited to the USA’s camp. Flyers’ head coach Peter Laviolette will be an assistant coach on Dan Bylsma’s staff.
Andrej Meszaros represented Slovakia in Vancouver in 2010 and it is likely that he will do so again in Sochi. Meszaros was named to Slovakia’s preliminary roster, but he is a lock to make the team.
These teams have not yet announced a roster, but it is expected that Jakub Voracek plays for the Czechs in Sochi and Mark Streit will represent Switzerland.