World championship starts Saturday

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- USA Hockey strengthened
its 2004 national team Tuesday, adding four NHL players to its
roster for the IIHF men's world championship, which begins
Saturday in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic.

The additions include New Jersey Devils center Scott Gomez, who
matched his career high of 70 points during the regular season.
Gomez, whose 56 assists tied Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis for
the league lead, was a member of the U.S. national junior team in
1998 and 1999.

Gomez led the Devils with six assists in their conference
quarterfinal loss to Philadelphia.

A teammate of Gomez's on the junior team in 1999, Nashville Predators right wing Adam Hall also was added to the team. He returned to the junior club in 2000 and was the fourth-leading scorer on the national team in 2003 with four points.

Hall, whose three points in the conference quarterfinals against
eventual winner Detroit tied for the Predators' lead, had 13 goals and 14
assists in his second full season with Nashville.

Boston Bruins center Andy Hilbert returns to the national team
for the second time in three years. The 23-year-old, who also
is a three-time member of the junior team, scored one goal in
five games during the Bruins' conference quarterfinal loss against Montreal.

Dallas Stars right wing Blake Sloan hopes to continue his
international success with the national team. After playing for
the junior team in 1994, Sloan helped the 2003 national select
team capture the Deutschland Cup.

Scoreless in 28 games during the regular season, Sloan did not
appear in Dallas' conference quarterfinal loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

The U.S. national team, which begins play with an exhibition game
against Germany on Wednesday, has two remaining spots to fill on
its roster.