Mika Zibanejad, Victor Hedman and Gabriel Landeskog are the first names submitted to be part of the Sweden men’s hockey team at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Participating countries were asked to declare three players last month.
Zibanejad, a center for the New York Rangers, will play in his first Olympics. His overtime goal gave Sweden a victory against Russia in the championship game of the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship, and he scored 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 10 games for first-place Sweden at the 2018 IIHF World Championship.
The 28-year-old scored 39 points (21 goals, 18) assists in his final 29 games of last season to finish with 50 points (24 goals, 26 assists) in 56 games. He has 283 points (136 goals, 147 assists) in 323 games since he was acquired in a trade with the Ottawa Senators for forward Derick Brassard on July 18, 2016.
“I’m excited it’s back,” Zibanejad said Sept. 23. “I think it gives you that extra energy or whatever during the season, because you know you have to make the team. There are a lot of good players. There are a lot of good players fighting for those spots and you want to be one of them, so you want to make sure that you play well enough to make the team, so I think that kind of leads up to the better you play, the better the team is going to be here.”
Hedman, a defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning, also will play in his first Olympic games. He wasn’t selected for the 2014 Sochi Olympics and the NHL did not participate in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
The five-time finalist and winner of the 2018 Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL is a two-time Stanley Cup champion (2020, 2021) who helped Sweden finish second at the World Junior Championship in 2008 and 2009, and Team Sweden third at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
Landeskog, captain of the Colorado Avalanche, was an alternate captain at the 2014 Olympics, where Sweden lost to Canada 3-0 in the gold medal game. He was Hedman’s teammate at the World Cup and played at Worlds in 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2019.
Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Alex Pietrangelo were the first names submitted Sunday to bepart of the Canada men’s hockey team.