Date: January 23, 2018

Germany Olympic roster

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

THE MEN’S ROSTER

After the German Ice Hockey Association had shortlisted 30 candidates last week, the final roster of three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forwards has been announced today by the German Olympic Sport Association today.

After having missed the Olympics for the first time in over six decades in Sochi 2014, the German men’s national team will be back for PyeongChang 2018 after winning its qualification tournament. For former NHLer Christian Ehrhoff it will be the fourth Olympics, for Marcel Goc the third and for Dennis Endras the second participation while all other players have never played at the Olympics before.

“We have a good mix of experienced players,” said head coach Marco Sturm after the last cut. Several players have had more than 100 national team games including Yannic Seidenberg (147), Felix Schutz (132), Marcus Kink (128), Patrick Hager (122), Moritz Muller (121), Frank Hordler (116), Christian Ehrhoff (110) and Marcel Goc (104).

16 of the 25 nominated players were part of the German national team that competed on home ice in Cologne during the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship where the team reached the quarter-finals.

“It’s important that a big part of the team has played together and knows our system. Opposed to the World Championship we only have three preliminary-round games so the team play has to work from the first game on,” Sturm says looking to the group-stage games with Finland, Sweden and Norway as opponents – a strong group as he calls it. “But we want to try to annoy the big ones.”

All 25 players join from the German DEL led by champion EHC Red Bull Munich with seven players and Adler Mannheim with six.

Goaltender Mathias Niederberger, defencemen Konrad Abeltshauser, Sinan Akdag and Justin Krueger as well as forward Stefan Loibl didn’t make the final cut and are listed as “on demand” for the Olympics.

The German team will convene on 3rd February for a camp in Fussen. On 6th February they will travel to Switzerland for an exhibition game against the host in Kloten before flying to Korea the next day.

Finland Olympic roster

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

THE MEN’S ROSTER

The list of players includes 13 previous Olympic medalists – nine on the women’s and four on the men’s side. On the men’s squad players combine for 21 previous Olympic participation’s while the women’s squad will be more rejuvenated with nine players who will play their first Olympics.

16 of the 25 players on the men’s roster join from KHL teams including five from Jokerit Helsinki, the Finnish club in the Russian-based cross-border league. Six players play in the Finnish Liiga, two in Switzerland and one in Sweden.

Lasse Kukkonen is the most experienced player and will participate at the Olympics for the fourth time. He as well as Sami Lepisto (2010, 2014), Juuso Hietanen (2014) and Petri Kontiola (2014) have been part of the team that won bronze at the last Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament four years ago. The youngest players are 1999-born Miro Heiskanen and Eeli Tolvanen, who recently played at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“I have a good feeling with the team. The preparation went well and gives us confidence. We are aware of the good opportunity we have and we are ready to seize it,” head coach Lauri Marjamaki said.

Sochi 2014 finalist Sweden, Norway and Germany will be Finland’s opponents in Group C.

THE WOMEN’S ROSTER

On the women’s team goaltender Noora Raty and forward Riika Valila will play in their fourth Olympics. Valila will also write history as the oldest female athlete from Finland to compete in the Olympic Winter Games surpassing figure skater Ludowika Jakobsson. The 44-year-old originally retired from international ice hockey after playing at the 1998 and 2002 Olympics (under her maiden name Nieminen) but staged a comeback at the 2014 Olympics and has also played at the last three Women’s World Championships. With Petra Nieminen also the women’s team has a 1999-born player.

12 players join from Finnish clubs, seven play in the Swedish women’s hockey league, two join from college teams in Canada and the U.S. respectively and two play in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League for Kunlun Red Star in Shenzhen, China.

“The team includes the best available players. The selection criteria were clear. They have to fit for the roles, adapt to the group, be in shape and have skill,” said head coach Pasi Mustonen.

Finland is seeded in the “upper” Group A with current world champion USA, defending Olympic champion Canada and the Russians. The top-two teams will receive a bye to the semi-finals while the bottom two teams have to play a qualification game against one of the top-two Group B teams. Finland’s declared goal is to win a medal.

With 45 hockey players, the sport of ice hockey will be prominent in the Finnish Olympic delegation of currently 61 athletes.