The Carolina Hurricanes‘ season may be over but select youngsters will be able to play on. Instead of sitting out this spring, the invitees will have an opportunity to expand their international pedigree next month.
Seven Hurricanes are prepared to compete at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, the NHL club announced Wednesday. The tournament will be staged May 5-21 in Paris and Cologne, Germany. The IIHF event will offer some of the franchise’s top young players an opportunity to gain additional experience. Six of the seven selected Hurricanes are returning to their national programs.
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) April 19, 2017
Defenseman Noah Hanifin will dress for Team USA, forward Jeff Skinner has another roster spot on Team Canada and forward Sebastian Aho should provide Team Finland with offensive depth. Featuring Victor Rask, Joakim Nordstrom, Elias Lindholm and goalie Eddie Lack, Team Sweden will be stocked with Hurricanes.
Hanifin, Skinner Return
Hanifin appears set to again lend his golden touch to Team USA as it opens against Team Germany on May 5. Before joining the Hurricanes’ system, Hanifin honed his skills as a member of the U.S. National Development Program. He helped Team USA capture gold medals at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and 2014 U18 World Junior Championship. The Boston native also dressed for Team USA at the 2015 World Junior Championship and 2016 IIHF World Championship.
The Hurricanes’ top two goal scorers last season, Skinner and Aho, have return engagements with the tournament. Skinner, who scored a career-high 37 goals, will compete in his fourth IIHF event as Team Canada opens against the Czech Republic in Paris on May 5.
Aho, who registered a 24-goal campaign as a rookie, was a member of Team Finland for the 2016 IIHF World Championship and 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Team Finland will open against Team Belarus in Paris on opening night.
Carolina Hurricanes Stock Team Sweden
The four Hurricanes on Team Sweden will make their IIHF World Championship debuts. The team’s journey starts with Team Russia in Cologne on May 5.
Rask and Nordstrom were part of Team Sweden’s gold-medal effort at the 2012 World Junior Championship, while Lindholm helped the junior program claim silver medals at the 2012 U18 World Junior Championship and back-to-back World Junior Championships in 2013 and 2014. Lack will dress for the national squad for the first time.
Jeff Hawkins is a career sportswriter who has collected eight industry awards, including two Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) honors. Hawkins has served as a beat writer for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and UHL’s Adirondack IceHawks. A husband and father, Hawkins enjoys live music, hiking, New York-style pizza with Dr. Pepper, and writing with his golden Labrador retriever “mutt” cuddled around his feet.