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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Canada unveils Olympic hockey roster

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Forwards Chris Kelly and Derek Roy lead an experienced group of mainly former NHL players as Canada will seek its third straight gold medal at next month's 2018 Winter Olympics.   With Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid unavailable because of a money dispute between the NHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation, Canadian general manager Sean Burke drew from six different leagues across Europe and North America to fill out the 25-man roster.

"It has been an exciting journey," Burke said. "We have a very special group of talented players and staff who are ready to compete in South Korea." Canada won gold in Vancouver in 2010 and four years later in Sochi, Russia, with a squad powered by Jeff Carter on forward, Shea Weber and Drew Doughty on defence and Carey Price in goal.

This time around, former Ottawa Senators forward Kelly, ex-Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers centre Roy and former Edmonton goalie Ben Scrivens will spearhead the men's hockey tournament title defence in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The 14 forwards, eight defencemen and three goaltenders join  Canada from six different leagues with the majority coming from Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Of the 25 players, 13 play in KHL, while others were chosen from the American Hockey League and European teams. It will mark the first time since 1994 that NHL players won't be at the Winter Olympics.

Commissioner Gary Bettman pulled the plug on NHL participation last May, saying travel and insurance costs were too high and so the league would not suspend its 2017-18 regular season to accommodate the Olympics. Former Stanley Cup winner Kelly leads all players with 833 games played in the NHL.

-AFP, Los Angeles

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