Iginla, Regehr answer Canada's call

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Jarome Iginla participated in the gold-medal party on the ice.

He also witnessed first-hand the celebrations in the stands.

Yet, four years after Canada's Olympic men's hockey victory at the Salt Lake City Games, the Calgary Flames captain is still blown away by the reaction across the country.

Really, who can forget the celebrations from Bonavista to Vancouver Island?

"It was a great thrill to hear back home Canadians were celebrating, a lot of them with us," Iginla reminisced last night. "It was a very special feeling."

He now has the opportunity to ignite similar festivities, having been named to the squad that will try to repeat at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy, in February.

And this time, he'll have a travel partner from the Stampede City, with defenceman Robyn Regehr also named to the 23-man roster yesterday, giving him his first crack at the Olympic experience.

Regehr can't wait.

"The Olympics are probably the greatest sports event in the world and not many people have the opportunity to participate in them," Regehr said.

"Having the chance to represent Canada on the hockey team makes it extra special.

"Being with Team Canada makes it a more pressure-packed situation but also one myself and every other kid who starts playing hockey really looks forward to."

Two other Calgarians also will be part of the squad, with Ottawa Senator Dany Heatley named to the team and Toronto Maple Leaf Bryan McCabe, the lone defenceman on the three-player taxi squad.

Flames defenceman Jordan Leopold was named to the American squad a couple of days ago, while goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is a sure bet for the yet-to-be named Finland squad. Roman Hamrlik will likely be part of the Czech Republic team.

It was four years ago, in the middle of Iginla's breakout campaign, he had a huge hand in helping Canada beat the U.S. in the finale. He scored twice and assisted on another in the 5-2 victory that gave Canada its first Olympic gold in 50 years.

Regehr may be a rookie when it comes to Olympic competition but has plenty of international experience. He won silver at the world juniors, has a world championship silver medal and was part of the victorious 2004 World Cup of Hockey crew.

Iginla was thrilled for his teammate.

"He's very, very deserving. I don't think he gets enough credit for how tough a defenceman he is to play against," Iginla said.

Regehr believes "it should be a lot of fun.

"The hockey is probably going to be the highest level I've ever played and I'm hoping it'll help me."


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