Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play in this fall’s World Cup of Hockey.
Nugent-Hopkins, 23, will suit up for Team North America, a club made up of players 23-and-under from Canada and the United Staes.
“It’s definitely a big honour for me. It’s great to be part of the group,” says Nugent-Hopkins.
Nugent-Hopkins wasn’t selected to the initial 16-man roster that was announced in March. Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli and Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman are in charge of the team.
“I never read too much into it. I maybe would have looked to have been named earlier just in terms of mindset, but at the same time it’s a big honour anyways and it’s a great team to be a part of,” Nugent-Hopkins explains. “I think it might give me a little bit of an advantage having him (Chiarelli) and (Oilers head coach) Todd (McLellan) part of the team I’m going to be playing on.”
Nugent-Hopkins had 34 points in 55 games last season. He missed almost two months with a broken right hand. He says it continues to heal.
“With hands, there are so many little things involved that it does take a long time. I’m working with the physio,” says Nugent-Hopkins. “I’m going to keep working on it to get it to one-hundred percent by the end of the summer.”
Oilers winger Taylor Hall was a candidate to make Team Canada but wasn’t selected.
The World of Hockey will be held September 17 – October 1 in Toronto.(jrw)