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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen will play for Norway at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

Tollefsen, who was named to Norway’s Olympic roster in December, was assigned to Grand Rapids by the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 8 after being acquired from the Philadelphia Flyers in a Feb. 6 trade for former Griffin Ville Leino. After personal matters forced him to delay his Griffins debut and miss Norway’s 8-0 loss to Canada in its opening game on Tuesday, the NHL veteran is expected to play his first Olympic contest on Thursday against the United States at 3 p.m. EST.

Tollefsen is the second Griffins defenseman to depart for the Olympics, joining Belarus’ Sergei Kolosov. They are just the third and fourth players in franchise history to participate in the Olympics as active Griffins, joining Niklas Kronwall (2006 Sweden) and Julien Vauclair (2002 Switzerland). In the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, Kronwall became the first Griffins alumnus to earn an Olympic medal, winning gold thanks to Sweden’s victory over Finland in the championship game.

Three of the other 10 men’s hockey teams are counting on former Griffins in their medal quests. Kronwall (2003-06) and Stefan Liv (2006-07), who also won gold with Sweden in 2006, will look to repeat, while Slovakia’s Pavol Demitra (1996-97) and Tomas Kopecky (2002-06) and Finland’s Valtteri Filppula (2005-07) will try to dethrone the defending champs.

The preliminary round continues through Feb. 21, with Kolosov set to play his first game for Belarus today at 3 p.m. EST versus Finland. The qualification round (Feb. 23-24), semifinals (Feb. 26), Bronze Medal Game (Feb. 27) and Gold Medal Game (Feb. 28) will continue through the end of the month.  


 Griffins in the Olympics (1984-2006)

Participated While Playing for the Griffins
Player Country Year/Site Finish
Niklas Kronwall Sweden 2006/Turin Gold
Julien Vauclair Switzerland 2002/Salt Lake City 11th


Participated After Playing for the Griffins
Player Country Year/Site Finish
Aigars Cipruss Latvia 2006/Turin 12th
Aigars Cipruss Latvia 2002/Salt Lake City 9th
Pavol Demitra Slovakia 2006/Turin 5th
Pavol Demitra Slovakia 2002/Salt Lake City 13th
Erich Goldmann Germany 2002/Salt Lake City 8th
Jani Hurme Finland 2002/Salt Lake City 6th
Rastislav Pavlikovsky Slovakia 2002/Salt Lake City 13th
Robert Petrovicky Slovakia 2002/Salt Lake City 13th
Konstantin Shafranov Kazakhstan 2006/Turin 9th
Andrei Sryubko Ukraine 2002/Salt Lake City 10th
Julien Vauclair Switzerland 2006/Turin 6th


Participated Before Playing for the Griffins
Player Country Year/Site Finish
Slava Butsayev Unified Team 1992/Albertville Gold
Chris Chelios USA 2006/Turin 8th
Chris Chelios USA 2002/Salt Lake City Silver
Chris Chelios USA 1998/Nagano 6th
Chris Chelios USA 1984/Sarajevo 7th
Erich Goldmann Germany 1998/Nagano 9th
Todd Hlushko Canada 1994/Lillehammer Silver
Curtis Joseph Canada 2002/Salt Lake City Gold
Stefan Liv Sweden 2006/Turin Gold
Kevin Miller USA 1988/Calgary 7th
Michael Nylander Sweden 2002/Salt Lake City 5th
Michael Nylander Sweden 1998/Nagano 5th
Robert Petrovicky Slovakia 1998/Nagano 10th
Robert Petrovicky Slovakia 1994/Lillehammer 6th
Travis Richards USA 1994/Lillehammer 8th
David Roberts USA 1994/Lillehammer 8th
Konstantin Shafranov Kazakhstan 1998/Nagano 8th

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