| Date of Birth:
February 29, 1980
Place of Birth: Ste-Foy, QC
Years on National Team:
Weight: 185 lbs
One of the most naturally gifted goal-scorers on Team Canada, Philadelphia Flyers' left-winger Simon Gagne will definitely be counted on to provide the squad with some offensive punch at the Turin Games in 2006.
Drafted 22nd overall by Philadelphia in 1998, Gagne was returned to Quebec of the QMJHL for one more year of junior experience in 1998-99. It was during that season that Gagne unleashed his full offensive arsenal, scoring 50 goals and 70 assists in just 61 games, landing him on the QMJHL Second All-Star Team. That same year, he would be selected to play for Canada on the 1999 World Junior team. He would score seven goals in seven games, including four goals in a single contest, as Canada went on to win the silver medal.
The explosive skater burst onto the NHL scene in 1999-00, scoring 20 goals and adding 28 assists to earn him a spot on the league's All-Rookie team. Just one year later, he earned his one and only All-Star nod.
By the 2001-02 season, it was clear Gagne was a player that would be a great asset for the national team. He was added to the Olympic team and spent much of his time skating on the team's top line with Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla. He would finish the tournament with one goal, three assists and the gold medal.
Injuries slowed Gagne during the 2002-03 season, but he was back in 2003-04, albeit finishing with a disappointing 21 goals and 24 helpers in 80 games. Despite his struggles, he was named to Team Canada's roster for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, where he once again played a key role as Canada claimed gold.
In 2005-06, Gagne is back to his rightful spot as one of the NHL's most feared snipers. However, it should not be forgotten that he has also developed into one of the league's most responsible two-way players, making his selection to a second consecutive Olympic team a given.
Incidentally, Gagne was taken in the same draft class that produced Team Canada teammates Vincent Lecavalier (first-overall to Tampa) and Robyn Regehr (19nd-overall to Colorado).
2006 Hockey Coverage