Canadian Olympic hockey team named but debate set to continue

Wed Dec 30, 2009 4:21pm EST
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SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Reuters) - Sidney Crosby was among 15 Olympic newcomers on a 23-man squad named by Hockey Canada on Wednesday to carry the weight of the host nation's gold medal dreams at the 2010 Winter Games.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Crosby, controversially left out four years ago, was one of the certainties this time in a squad announcement that brought workplaces to a halt when it was made live on 13 television networks in hockey-mad Canada.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer, a member of the 2002 winning team, was named captain for Vancouver 2010.

He will anchor a defense that includes four players seeing their first Olympic action -- Chicago Blackhawks team mates Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, Nashville Predators' Shea Weber and 20-year-old Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.

New Jersey Devils' record-breaking goaltender Martin Brodeur, in net when Canada ended a 50-year gold medal drought at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, was also named on a squad that will face monstrous pressure to win on home ice.

No medal other than gold will satisfy Canadians, who have spent the last year arguing over who should wear the Maple Leaf in what is being hyped as the greatest hockey event of all-time.

"Certainly there is pressure," Crosby told reporters after learning of his selection. "That is also why you love to play the game and those are the challenges you look forward to.

"You are talking about representing Canada and being a hockey player in a sport that is so important in Canada and having the Games in Canada so I feel pretty lucky to have that opportunity."


<p>Scott Niedermayer of the Anaheim Ducks stretches during a practice at the Canada's Olympic hockey training camp in Calgary in this August 24, 2009 file photo. Hockey Canada named on Wednesday the 23 players who will carry the weight of the host country's dreams at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Niedermayer was named captain. REUTERS/Todd Korol</p>