Updated 4/24/15: Jaromir Jagr will also be playing for the Czech Republic at the the World Championships.
Updated 4/21/15: Defenseman Dimitry Kulikov will join Team Russia and forward Tomas Kopecky will join Team Czech Republic for the World Championships. The Panthers’ official press release can be found here.
The season may be over for the Florida Panthers as a team, but Aaron Ekblad, Aleksander Barkov, and Jussi Jokinen have each been selected to represent their countries at the 2015 IIHF Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic. Team Canada announced on Tuesday that Ekblad would be one of the first 19 players to make the roster, while Team Finland confirmed that both Barkov and Jokinen had joined the team for practices.
Aaron Ekblad will join a slew of fellow NHL players also representing Canada, including Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, and Claude Giroux, while Barkov and Jokinen will join Leo Komarov, Jyrki Jokipakka, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Tuomo Ruutu.
Each of the three Panthers have participated in international play several times throughout their careers. Aaron Ekblad recorded a total of 16 points through 22 games while playing in the U17, U20, and Ivan Hlinka Memorial junior tournaments, making this the first time he has participated in a non-junior international tournament while representing Canada. Aleksander Barkov has a wealth of international experience, having participated in U16, U17, U18, and U20 tournaments, as well as 2 games in the Olympics last year. Through these tournaments, Barkov has amassed 48 points in 68 games, despite being just 19 years old. Jussi Jokinen has also represented Finland in the same tournaments as Barkov, as well as 42 career World Championship games during which he has tallied 25 points.
This year’s tournament will begin on May 1st in Prague and Ostrava, and it will end on May 17th. Canada opens play against Latvia, and Finland will kick off their schedule with a game against the United States.