13 returning from '96 triumph

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios and
Dallas forward Mike Modano are among 13 players back to defend Team
USA's championship in the World Cup of Hockey.

The 26-player roster for this year's veteran-laden squad was
announced Thursday by USA Hockey at a news conference at Xcel
Energy Center. The team is coached by San Jose's Ron Wilson, who
led the Americans to victory at the last World Cup in 1996.

"I think it's a great opportunity, an honor and thrill to be
named to the team," Modano said. "There are a lot of players on
this roster that are familiar with each other. That will make it
easier to play together."

Fourteen members of this year's team won a silver medal in the
2002 Salt Lake Olympics.

Other forwards chosen were Philadelphia's Tony Amonte, Bill
Guerin of Dallas, Detroit's Brett Hull, Colorado's Steve
Konowalchuk, Boston's Brian Rolston, Ottawa's Bryan Smolinski, Doug
Weight and Keith Tkachuk of St. Louis, Jason Blake of the New York
Islanders, Calgary's Craig Conroy, Buffalo's Chris Drury,
Washington's Jeff Halpern, New Jersey's Jamie Langenbrunner and
Philadelphia's Jeremy Roenick.

Other defensemen picked were Detroit's Derian Hatcher and
Matthieu Schneider, Toronto's Ken Klee and Brian Leetch, Calgary's
Jordan Leopold, Aaron Miller of Los Angeles and New Jersey's Brian

The goalies included Edmonton's Ty Conklin, Philadelphia's
Robert Esche and Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders.

The Americans are the defending champions of this event, which
last took place in 1996. They beat Canada in a best-of-three series
to win the Cup.

The tournament will be held from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14 at several
sites in North America and Europe.

Team USA will be placed in the North American Pool along with
Canada, Russia and Slovakia. European Pool teams include the Czech
Republic, Finland, Germany and Sweden.

Notes: Minnesota Wild forward Marian Gaborik will play for the
Slovak team.