The National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild today announced two additional players have been named to rosters for the World Cup of Hockey 2016: Erik Haula was added to the Team Finland roster and Nino Niederreiter has been named to represent Team Europe. They join five Wild players who were named to initial rosters for the World Cup of Hockey 2016 on March 2: Zach Parise and Ryan Suter (USA), Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu (Finland) and Thomas Vanek (Europe). The tournament will take place in Toronto over a two-week period, from Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016, with all games played at Air Canada Centre.
Haula, 25 (3/23/91), led Minnesota with a career-high, plus-21 rating in 2015-16 – tied for the highest-ever plus/minus rating by a Wild forward in franchise history. The native of Pori, Finland, also established career highs in games played (76), goals (14), assists (20), points (34), TOI/game (12:44), GWG (2), shots (99), hits (57), blocked shots (55), faceoffs wins (416) and faceoffs taken (781) in 2015-16, adding four points (1-3=4) in five playoff games. The 6-foot, 193-pound center has played in four international tournaments for Finland. Haula collected one assist in six games as Finland earned the silver medal at the 2014 World Championship. He led Finland in goals and ranked second in scoring at the 2011 World Junior Championship, totaling seven points (4-3=7) in six games. Haula also represented Finland at the Under-18 World Championship in 2008 and 2009, helping the team claim the bronze medal in 2009.
Niederreiter, 23 (9/8/92), posted career highs in games played (82), assists (23), points (43), shots (159) and TOI/game (15:33) in 2015-16. The native of Chur, Switzerland, registered 20 goals on the season – leading all Swiss NHL players in goals for the second year in a row and becoming the first Switzerland native to ever score at least 20 goals in consecutive NHL seasons. Niederreiter also led Minnesota in assists (5) and ranked second in points (6) and shots (19) in six playoff games. The 6-foot-2, 211-pound winger has played in eight international tournaments for Switzerland, including the 2014 Olympics. He tied for the team lead with three goals and ranked T-2nd with six points in seven games with Switzerland at this month’s World Championship. He led Switzerland with five goals and ranked T-2nd in scoring with eight points at the 2013 World Championship, helping the Swiss earn a silver medal – its first World Championship medal in 60 years. Niederreiter also played in the 2012 and 2010 World Championships, served as team captain at the 2011 World Junior Championship and led his country in scoring at the 2010 World Junior Championship, where he was named to the tournament All-Star Team. He also participated in the 2009 Under-18 World Championship.
Live coverage of all tournament games will be provided by ESPN in the United States. For more information on the World Cup of Hockey 2016 visit www.wch2016.com. The players for Team North America are selected from a pool of the best young hockey players from Canada and the United States. Those players must have a date of birth on or after Oct. 2, 1992 and will be available for selection exclusively by Team North America. Team Europe is comprised of a pan-European roster of players from birth countries outside of the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
The eight teams will be divided into two Groups of four, and each will compete in three tournament games within their assigned Group in a round-robin format. The top two finishers in Group A and Group B will advance to the semifinal round, where the first-place team from each Group will face an elimination game against the second-place team from the other Group. Winners of the semifinal games will advance to a best-of-three Final series.[Minnesota Wild press release]