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By: Mike Peck

Olympic tryout rosters announced

Rockford, Ill.- The Winter Olympic Games are rolling around again and the 2014 gala will take place in Sochi, Russia. After the National Hockey League and the players union came to an agreement with the International Ice Hockey Federation earlier in the month to play in the games, each country announced their respective tryout rosters on Monday.

Among the five countries whom are considered favorites to win a medal, four of them have former IceHogs participating in this summer’s tryout camp.

Three of the eight players are slated to partake in Team USA training camp in Alexandria, Virginia. The list includes forward Brandon Saad and defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Nick Leddy. Team Finland has two former IceHogs and one potential future Rockford skater. Forward Petri Kontiola and goalie Antti Niemi are the former while goalie Antti Raanta is listed as the number-three goalie on the Chicago Blackhawks depth chart.

Raanta was the goalie for Team Finland this past spring at the IIHF World Championships and led his native country to the bronze medal game. Raanta and Finland fell to Team USA 4-3 in a shootout in the third-place game.

Two former Hogs will try to make Team Sweden as forward Marcus Kruger and d-man Niklas Hjalmarsson are in camp. And former IceHogs goalie Corey Crawford will compete for one of the hotly contested spots of any team in the 2014 Winter Olympiad as he will try to win one of Team Canada’s goalie positions.

Rockford has had three former players participate in past Winter Olympics. Eduard Zankovets (Team Belarus) played in the 2002 games in Salt Lake City while Bob Nardella (Team Italy) and Maris Ziedins (Team Latvia) took part in the 2006 event in Turin, Italy.

The XXII Winter Olympic games will run from Feb. 12 to 23. The NHL will take an 18-day hiatus from Feb. 9 to 26. The American Hockey League will not take a break during the Winter Olympics.

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