Grabovski, Kostitsyns named to Belarussian team

12/23/2009 9:57:00 AM

Belarus became the first nation to name its provisional hockey roster for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Wednesday.

Head coach Mikhail Zakharov named a 23-man roster similar to the Belarus teams that competed at the 2008 and 2009 world championships.

Four NHL players made the roster, including Colorado defenceman Ruslan Salei, 36, Toronto forward Mikhail Grabovsky, 25, and Montreal's Kostitsyn brothers, Andrei, 24, and Sergei, 22.

Andrei Mezin will play between the pipes for Belarus. The 35-year-old netminder helped the Belarusians reach the quarterfinals at the 2009 worlds with a 94.77 save percentage that earned him teh Best Goalkeeper award at the tournament.

Mezin was also involved in Belarus' upset of Sweden at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City with 44 saves.

In total, 14 players from the KHL, seven from Dynamo Minsk, the Belarusian club int he Russian league, and five from the Belarusian Extraliga made the provisional roster.

Vancouver will be the third Olympics for Belarus after competing in 1998 and 2002. Belarus did not qualify for the 2006 Games. 

The final Olympic rosters must be registered by February 15, one day prior to the beginning of the tournament. All other provisional rosters are scheduled to be announced by January 1.

Goaltenders:Vitali KovalMaxim MalyutinAndrei Mezin

Defence:Andrei AntonovAndrei BashkoVladimir DenisovViktor KostiuchenokRuslan SaleiNikolai StasenkoVadim SushkoAlexander SyreiOleg AntonenkoSergei Demagin

Forwards:Mikhail GrabovskyAlexei KaliuzhnyKonstantin KoltsovAndrei KostitsynSergei KostitsynAlexander KulakovAndrei MikhalevAndrei StasAlexei UgarovSergei Zadelenov