EL SEGUNDO, CA AND SPRINGFIELD, MA — On December 30, the Los Angeles Kings announced that center Michal Handzus will represent Slovakia in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Later in the day, the American Hockey League announced that the Manchester Monarchs (Kings primary minor league affiliate) goaltender Jonathan Bernier will be the starter in goal for the Canadian AHL All-Star team in the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic.
Handzus, 32, has represented Slovakia twice in the Olympic Winter Games. He scored a goal in two games played in 2002 and was named to the 2006 team, but did not play.
The 6-4, 216-pound native of Banska Bystrica, Slovakia has also represented his country in international play during the 2009, 2005, 2002 (silver medal) and 2000 (gold medal) World Championships, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 1997 and 1996 World Junior Championships.
“I’m excited to play for my country,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting and I think we’re going to have a good team.”
“I think it’s a huge honor to play for my country,” he added. “Everybody will be watching back home and it’s a great tournament with the best players in the world.”
Handzus has played in all 39 games with the Kings this season, scoring seven goals and adding eleven assists for eighteen points.
In 720 career regular season NHL games with the Kings, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and St. Louis, Handzus has scored 147 goals and has tallied 234 assists for 381 points with 420 penalty minutes. In sixty career playoff games, he has seven goals and eighteen assists for 25 points with 34 penalty minutes.
Bernier, 21, is tied for the AHL lead with sixteen wins in 26 appearances. He has earned a 16-8-2 record with a 1.88 goals-against average, a .944 save percentage and four shutouts.
Bernier was selected by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) of the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
The 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic will be played at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine on January 19, 2010 (3:00 PM Pacific time).
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