Young Panthers Shine at World Championships

By League Press Release

SUNRISE, FL – Florida Panthers LW Niklas Hagman has been named to the 2002 World Championships All-Star Team by the International Ice Hockey Federation for this year’s tournament, held in Sweden. Panthers LW Kristian Huselius led Sweden to a bronze medal and finished second among all scorers in the tournament.

Hagman, 22, scored seven points (five goals, two assists) in nine games for fourth-place Finland, finishing second on his club in points and tied for eighth among all tournament scorers. The tournament caps a very successful rookie campaign for the 6-foot, 200-pound native of Espoo, Finland, who completed his first NHL season this year, scoring 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) for the Panthers and skated for Finland in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hagman, who was named NHL Rookie of the Month in March, played on a line with Florida teammate C Olli Jokinen.

Huselius, 23, scored 11 points (five goals, six assists) in nine games with host Sweden, finishing second overall just behind Buffalo’s Miroslav Satan (Slovakia) and ahead of Washington teammates and NHL All-Stars Peter Bondra (Slovakia) and Jaromir Jagr (Czech Republic). The 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Osterhaninge, Sweden led his team in scoring and captured the bronze medal with a 5-3 come-from-behind win over Finland. Huselius’ tournament caps a great rookie season in which he won NHL Rookie of the Month honors in October and scored 45 points (23 goals, 22 assists) for the Panthers. Huselius is also a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which will be awarded in June to the league’s top rookie.

Jokinen, 23, scored two points (one goal, one assist) in nine games with Finland, including the game-winning goal that knocked the United States out of medal contention. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound native of Kuopio, Finland also won 56% of his faceoffs, playing on Finland’s top line. Jokinen posted career-best numbers for the Panthers this season, scoring 29 points (nine goals, 20 assists).

All-Star D Sandis Ozolinsh also appeared in the World Championships, tying for third in team scoring for Latvia, with three points (two goals, one assist) and 12 penalty minutes in six games. D Brad Ference appeared in six games for Canada. Ference was held scoreless as Team Canada was ousted in the quarterfinal round.