In net for thee

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

After leading Canada to championships at the Olympics and World Cup, Martin Brodeur is aiming for the international trifecta.

Should the ongoing labour dispute wipe out the entire NHL season, the all-star goaltender would love to once again don the red-and-white maple leaf, this time at the 2005 World Hockey Championship in Austria this spring.

"I've had a heck of a lot fun representing this country at the past two events," Brodeur said yesterday from New Jersey. "It definitely would be an outstanding tournament with lots of great players.

"I'd have to make sure to clear it with the players association but who wouldn't want to play for Team Canada?"

All locked-out NHLers will be eligible for the tournament, which runs from April 30 to May 15.

"We have no problem whatsoever with that issue," NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said last night.

Hockey Canada officials are scheduled to discuss the concept of having an all-star team of NHLers take to the ice in Europe. A decision is expected early in February.

Whatever resolution is agreed upon, Hockey Canada said the team will be run by national team head coach Marc Habscheid.

One of the stumbling blocks facing NHLers is the insurance issue. Big-name players face hefty premiums when taking to the ice overseas, a lesson Brodeur learned first-hand during the recent IMG WorldStars tour.

"I know the insurance would be hefty," Brodeur said. "It's definitely an issue that would need to be examined.

"But hey, if things worked out, it would be great."

Brodeur was part of the Canadian team that won a silver medal during the 1996 worlds, a tournament that also was held in Austria.

With the players association recently encouraging its membership to examine job possibilities overseas for next season as well as this one, European teams are clamouring to gobble up more NHL talent before the final transfer deadlines of most leagues arrive at the end of the month.

"I had another team just contact me this morning," Brodeur said. "I'm staying here this season, but I might have to examine my possibilities for next season. I want to play somewhere."


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