STOCKHOLM – Swiss defenceman Raphael Diaz and Czech defenceman Marek Zidlicky will join their national teams for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm on Monday.
Diaz was cleared to play for Switzerland by the Montreal Canadiens and will fly to Europe today. He’s expected to land in Stockholm on Monday afternoon and will play in Switzerland’s last preliminary-round game against Belarus on Tuesday.
“Diaz knows our system well and will make our defence even stronger,” Switzerland head coach Sean Simpson said.
“I learned a lot of things this year and want show my best hockey and support my Swiss teammates,” Diaz said before leaving Montreal.
The 27-year-old Zug native will play his third World Championship after 2008 and 2011. In 2011 he scored three goals to lead all defencemen in scoring. He was also part of the team at the 2010 Olympics.
Diaz finished his second NHL season after joining the Canadiens in 2011. In 23 games in the regular season he had one goal and 13 assists. During the playoffs he was third in time on ice per game on his team behind P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov with 22:22 minutes.
After announcing the arrival of Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec for Monday, the Czech national team will use their last spot on the roster for New Jersey Devils defenceman Marek Zidlicky. The formal issues were cleared on Sunday morning.
The 36-year-old Most native will play his sixth World Championship. He was on the team that won gold at the 2005 Worlds in Vienna and most recently on the bronze-winning team in 2011. Zidlicky also represented the Czech Republic in the 2006 and 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
An NHL veteran of nine seasons, Zidlicky finished his second year with the New Jersey Devils. He collected most points for a defenceman on his team. In 48 games he had four goals and 15 assists.
Same as Plekanec, Zidlicky is expected to arrive on Monday and to play in the last preliminary-round game against Norway on Tuesday in a match that could decide about the quarter-final participation.
With the addition of the two players, the Czechs will have a full roster that includes 12 NHL players. Defenceman Jakub Krejcik and Marek Troncinsky, who have been practising with the team but have never been registered, will likely have to travel home.