The preliminary rosters for this year’s World Cup of Hockey were announced yesterday and four players from the Panthers were selected to represent their countries. Aleksander Barkov, Jussi Jokinen, Dmitry Kulikov, and Aaron Ekblad will represent Finland, Russia, and Team North America respectively when the tournament kicks off in September.
This year’s World Cup of Hockey will take place for the first time in 12 years and it’ll feature 8 teams. The first 6 teams include the United States, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Finland, while the final two teams are Team Europe and a U-23 Team North America. Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen will both represent Finland, Dmitry Kulikov will represent Russia, and Aaron Ekblad will represent North America. Some players were left out, such as Jaromir Jagr, Vincent Trocheck, and Jonathan Huberdeau, however these are only preliminary selections and the rosters won’t be finalized until early June.
Jagr isn’t expected to make a decision on whether or not he’ll participate until the NHL season is over, however following this past year’s Ice Hockey World Championship, he stated he was going to retire from international hockey. Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant will also serve as the assistant coach for Team North America.
Barkov, Jokinen, Kulikov, and Ekblad each have extensive international experience:
Barkov: 3 World Junior Championships, 1 World Championship, 1 Olympic Games
Jokinen: 3 World Junior Championships, 6 World Championship, 2 Olympic Games
Kulikov: 3 World Junior Championships, 3 World Championship
Ekblad: 1 World Junior Championships, 1 World Championship
You can check out the rest of the initial World Cup of Hockey Rosters here.