Wellington Scoop

Players named for Ice Hockey Classic at the Stadium

Press Release – TLA Worldwide
The countdown is on, with only three more sleeps until the Ice Hockey Classic arrives in New Zealand.

While the venues undergo major transformations to play host to one of the biggest rivalries in the Northern Hemisphere, some of the most exciting players in international ice hockey are packing their bags for a fearless face-off in the Southern Hemisphere.

In the latest line-up news, the Ice Hockey Classic is excited to announce the players joining the already announced team captains for the action-packed series to take place at Auckland’s Spark Arena (Friday 22 June) Wellington’s Westpac Stadium (Saturday 23 June), and next Thursday 28 June at Queenstown’s SOLD OUT Ice Arena.

Get your tickets now from Ticketmaster (Auckland) and Ticketek (Wellington)

TEAM CANADA / Coach: Paul Rosen

Nolan Yonkman (captain) A veteran of over 700 AHL games, plus 76 career NHL games, Nolan Yonkman now enjoys playing in Finland with JYP of the Finnish elite league where this season they took out the Champions Hockey League. Drafted in the second round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals, Yonkman has played in the big league for the Caps, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, and the Anaheim Ducks.

He proved his leadership qualities wearing the ‘C’ for three seasons with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals from 2007-08 to 2009-10, before captaining the San Antonio Rampage for two seasons, followed by the Adirondack Flames. Now Yonkman is ready to come to New Zealand and lead Canada with the determination to beat USA in the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic.

WATCH: Nolan Yonkman – Shout out to NZ

Peter Holland Originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks as the 15th overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Peter Holland currently plays for the New York Rangers and their AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack. Prior to that, he enjoyed a three-year stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing 166 games for the historic franchise before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in 2016. Holland is considered to be a centre that can provide any lineup with scoring depth, making him a great addition to the Ice Hockey Classic.

WATCH: Peter Holland 1st career goal 11/11/11

Chris Driedger While Ben Scrivens will be holding the fort for Canada during the Australian portion of the tour, Driedger will be in the crease across the New Zealand dates.

Currently scheduled to become an RFA on July 1st, Chris Driedger has been working hard to develop his game as a goalie prospect within the Ottawa Senators organisation. Last seen playing for the Brampton Beast in the ECHL, in 17 games this season his numbers have been improving with a .922 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average.

WATCH: #SensCamp – Chris Driedger Goalie Cam

Byron Froese Drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Byron Froese has bounced from their system, to the Toronto Maple Leafs organisation where he played on a very talented 2016-17 Toronto Marlies team that included young stars Travis Dermott and Kasperi Kapanen, along with 58 games for the big club before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning. He now currently plays for the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate the Laval Rocket.

Seen by many as a reliable third-liner who can provide depth scoring, Froese has a wicked release on his wrist shot. To date his most offensively productive season was in 2013-14, tallying 42 points in 46 games for the Marlies. As for the big leagues, Froese’s best came this season scoring 3 goals and 8 assists for the Montreal Canadiens.

WATCH: Froese tips in Benn’s shot for first goal with Canadiens

TEAM USA / Coach: Dennis Maruk

Zenon Konopka (captain) During an NHL career that spanned over 300 games, Zenon Konopka played for the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild, and the Buffalo Sabres.

Konopka can also be seen in the documentary ‘Ice Guardians’ that looks at the role of enforcers in hockey and the impact that position has on the players. Hailing from St. Catharines, Ontario but with dual residency, the former NHLer has been chosen to lead Team USA.

T.J. Brennan Considered to be one of the elite offensive defencemen in the AHL today, Brennan is another success story from the Toronto Marlies system in the AHL, during the 2015-16 season he was scoring close to a point per game pace with 25 goals and 43 assists in 69 games – finishing third equal in league scoring.

Now playing for the Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL affiliate the LeHigh Valley Phantoms, Brennan signed a contract extension onMarch 6 that sees him with the club for two more years.

WATCH: T.J. Brennan Goal

Richard Bachman In goal for Team USA will be Richard Bachman who most recently played for the Utica Comets – the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks. Prior to joining the Canucks in the 2015-16 season he also played for two years with the Edmonton Oilers/OKC Barons and four with the Dallas Stars/Texas Stars, whom selected Bachman in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

In 31 games for Utica, Bachman ended the 2018-18 AHL season with a 13-13-5 record while registering a .902 save percentage and 2.98 goals against average. The 5-foot-10 net minder is slated to head into free agency on July 1st as a UFA.

WATCH: Richard Bachman robs Bud Holloway

Aaron Johnson In the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Aaron Johnson was selected in the third round by the Columbus Blue Jackets where he played the majority of his 291 career NHL games – he also played for the New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and the Boston Bruins. Johnson spent most of his professional hockey career in the AHL, playing 455 games and scoring 215 points, including twelve in the Calder Cup playoffs for the Syracuse Crunch and Milwaukee Admirals.

Now with Adler Mannheim in the German elite league, expect Johnson to be paired up with T.J. Brennan to create a formidable top defensive pairing for the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic.

Stay tuned for more player updates! Please note all players are subject to appear.

As well as showcasing the highest quality ice hockey, the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic will raise awareness and funds for the STOPCONCUSSIONS Foundation.

STOPCONCUSSIONS is a not-for-profit concussion and neurotrauma awareness and education platform founded by former European star, Kerry Goulet, and ex-NHL stars, Keith and Wayne Primeau. While in New Zealand, STOPCONCUSSIONS and the Ice Hockey Classic will support the following worthy charities:

Wellington Brain Injury Association – STOPCONCUSSIONS also works with Brain Injury Australia and Brain Injury Ontario in Canada

Parafed Wellington – Team Canada Coach Paul Rosen is a famous Canadian Para Athlete and is one of the top motivational speakers when it comes to concussions and ability vs. disability. Paul inspires by proving he does not have a disability, even though he lost a leg, but that he has ability by winning an Olympic Gold medal for Canada in 2006 as a Para Ice Hockey Goalie. Read about Paul’s story here: https://www.paulrosen.ca/

Ronald McDonald House – STOPCONCUSSIONS co-founder Kerry Goulet has a very special connection to this charity as an Ambassador for the Luebeck Ronald McDonalds House in Germany, so he is familiar with their work and excited to have them involved.

The dates for the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic are as follows:

Auckland – Spark Arena: Friday 22 June, 2018
Wellington – Westpac Stadium: Saturday 23 June, 2018
Queenstown – Queenstown Ice Arena: Thursday 28 June, 2018 – SOLD OUT

Tickets for the 2018 Ice Hockey Classic are available from Ticketek for Wellington.

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