I'd be smiling too if I heard I was going to represent my country at a world event. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Matt Hackett has been selected to represent his country for the very first time on the international stage. Barring injuries or very strong play, the Aeros' hotshot goalie, who is a London, Ontario native, will likely be third string for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships behind Cam Ward of the Hurricanes and Devan Dubnyk of the Oilers. As such, it is unlikely we'll get to see much of him during the WC, but you never know. Hackett will be the only Canadian player to represent the Wild on Team Canada this year, after they were represented by Cal Clutterbuck and Brent Burns last year.
His NHL stats this year were respectable for a rookie. He had a 3-6-0 record, a 2.37 GAA and a 0.922 SV% in 12 appearances (7 starts). He had a 20-17-6 record in the AHL with a 2.38 GAA and a 0.917 SV%.
While he may not see much action, this will still be a very rewarding experience for Hackett, who has been one of the AHL's top goalies this year. It's a testament to his talent that Team Canada chose Hackett as opposed to another NHL player to represent Canada.
Other Wild players to represent their respective country at the WC are Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund for Finland and U-20 champions Jonas Brodin and Johan Larsson for Sweden. All of Canada's games will be broadcasted on TSN and RDS and the action starts on May 4th.
Congratulations Hacks! Hope we get to see you strut your stuff on the international stage!