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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 September, 2004, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
NHL stars head for Europe

Europe's ice hockey leagues are feeling the benefit of the NHL lockout.

More than 150 players have signed to play in Europe while the dispute between NHL team owners and their stars over a new labour agreement continues.

They include Markus Naslund with Modo (Sweden), Jaromir Jagr with Kladmo (Czech Republic) and Ilya Kovalchuk with AK Bars Kazan (Russia).

Most of the players have lockout clauses that allow them to return to the NHL if and when the impasse ends.

Besides Naslund of the Vancouver Canucks, Modo also signed his team-mates Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Niklas Sundstrom (Montreal), Pierre Hedin (Toronto) and Peter Forsberg (Colorado).

Forsberg has indicated he will play the entire season with Modo.

Only 17 Canadian players are headed to Europe, with many others preferring to compete in a four-on-four exhibition series in Ontario and Quebec.

The Czech league has signed 47 NHL players. Jagr of the New York Rangers and Tomas Kaberle of Toronto skate for Kladno, while Martin Rucinsky of Vancouver is with Litvinov.

Ziggy Palffy of Los Angeles is with Slavia Prague, Radek Bonk of Montreal is with Trinec, and Patrick Elias (New Jersey) is with Znojmesti Orli.

The Russian league has recruited 33 NHL players.

As well as Kovalchuk of Atlanta, they include Andrei Markov of Montreal and Pavel Datsyuk of Detroit (Dynamo Moscow), Sergei Gonchar of Boston (Met Magnitogorsk); and Garth Snow of the Islanders (SKA S Petersburg).

The Swedish league signed 30 players, while the Finnish and Slovakian leagues signed nine NHL players apiece.

Joe Thornton of Boston and Rick Nash of Columbus Blue Jackets are skating for Davos in the Swiss league.

Leagues in Austria, France, Italy and Germany also signed a few NHL players.

Links to more US Sport stories


NHL shutdown begins
15 Sep 04 |  US Sport
NHL set for shutdown
10 Sep 04 |  US Sport
NHL lock-out looms
26 Aug 04 |  US Sport
Strike threatens new season
05 Aug 04 |  US Sport

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