Rockford, Ill.- On Wednseday, March 2, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association) and the NHL announced the rosters for all eight teams competing in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Five former-Rockford IceHogs were amongst those chosen to represent their countries this fall in Toronto:
|Player||Years in Rockford||Team|
|D, Dustin Byfuglien||2007-08||USA|
|D, Niklas Hjalmarsson||2007-09||Sweden|
|G, Corey Crawford||2007-10||Canada|
|F, Brandon Saad||2012-13||North America|
|F, Teuvo Teravainen||2013-15||Finland|
Byfuglien recorded eight games with the IceHogs during the 2007-08 season. During his time in Rockford the defenseman notched two goals and five assists (7 pts) with a +6 rating. Byfuglien was drafted in the eighth round (#245 overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The d-man won the Stanley Cup in 2010, and was named an NHL All Star in 2011 with the Atlanta Thrashers; as well as 2012, 2015 and 2016 with the Winnipeg Jets.
Hjalmarsson spent two seasons with Rockford between 2007 and 2009. He produced 31 points (6g-51a) in 99 games for the IceHogs. A 2005 Blackhawks draft pick, Hjalmarsson was a part of the Blackhawks 2010, 2013, and 2015 Stanley Cup championships.
Crawford was with the IceHogs between 2007 and 2010. He holds the IceHogs all-time AHL-era lead for goaltenders with games played, minutes, saves, and wins. The netminder won Stanley Cup championships with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015. In 2014-15, he was the recipient of the William M. Jennings award, along with Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens, which is given to the best goaltender in the NHL.
Saad spent 31 games with the IceHogs in the 2012-13 season, while playing another 46 contests for the Chicago Blackhawks. He was awarded the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the week of Jan. 13, 2013, receiving the award right before being called up to the Blackhawks. His performance in those 46 games in 2013 earned him a spot on that season’s NHL All-Rookie Team. A Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, Saad was named an NHL All Star in 2016 as member of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Pittsburgh native will be competing with Team North America, which is composed of players from Canada and the United States who are age 23 or under as of Oct. 1, 2016.
Teravainen is the most recent IceHogs graduate, playing in 44 games between 2013 and 2015. The Finnish forward recorded 25 points (6g-19a) in 39 games with Rockford last season. He was a part of the Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup championship, recording 10 points throughout the playoffs.
The tournament is set to take place in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sept. 17 through Oct. 1. For more information on the World Cup of Hockey, visit: www.WCH2016.com