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GOING FOR GOLD

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Nine current and former members of the Grand Rapids Griffins will compete at the 2012 IIHF World Championship in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden, beginning tomorrow and concluding on May 20.

A current Griffin will compete in the tournament for the third consecutive year, as Tomas Tatar will make his second-ever appearance at the event for Slovakia. Tatar had two goals in six games for his country in the 2010 World Championship and also logged 16 points (10-6—16) in 13 games for Slovakia at the 2009 and 2010 World Junior Championships.

Five of the eight Griffins alumni at the event played with the parent Detroit Red Wings this season, including Finland’s Valtteri Filppula (2005-07), Sweden’s Jonathan Ericsson (2006-09) and Niklas Kronwall (2003-06), and the USA’s Justin Abdelkader (2008-10) and Jimmy Howard (2005-09). The quintet will be joined by three more of their Red Wings teammates in Pavel Datsyuk (Russia), Johan Franzen (Sweden) and Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden).

Joining Tatar on Slovakia is Florida’s Tomas Kopecky (2002-06). Other former Griffins slated to compete are Italy’s Derek Edwardson (2004-05) and Norway’s Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (2009-10). Also in attendance is Czech Republic goaltender Petr Mrazek, a fifth-round pick (141st overall) of the Red Wings in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft who played for the OHL’s Ottawa 67s this season and is eligible to join the Griffins in 2012-13.

For coverage, rosters, statistics and results for the 2012 IIHF World Championship, visit iihf.com. The tournament’s preliminary round will run from May 4-15, with the quarterfinals taking place on May 17, the semifinals on May 19 and the medal round on May 20.

The NBC Sports Network will televise at least 13 games of World Championship, including all Team USA games, all four quarterfinal games, a semifinal matchup and the gold-medal game. Starting with tomorrow’s preliminary-round contest against France, all Team USA games will air live on NBC Sports Network, with the exception of its preliminary-round game versus Canada on Saturday (aired later that night on delay) and a potential appearance in the gold-medal game on May 20 (same-day delay). NBC Sports Network will televise at least one semifinal game and the gold-medal game (same-day delay), regardless of whether or not Team USA is playing in the contest.

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