Another veteran, Weinrich, gets the nod

Updated: August 23, 2004, 4:47 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Team USA will be without the veteran leadership of defenseman Derian Hatcher for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, which begins Aug. 30.

Hatcher, a 13-year NHL veteran who was on the American squad that won the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996, has withdrawn from the 2004 event for personal reasons.

Eric Weinrich, a 16-year NHL veteran and nine-time member of the U.S. Men's National Team, has been chosen to take his place. Weinrich finished last season with the St. Louis Blues.

As a member of the Dallas Stars in 2002-03, Hatcher ranked fifth in the NHL with a plus-minus rating of plus-37, earning consideration for the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL.

Known for his hard-nosed style of defense, Hatcher was signed by the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent last summer but suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and played in only 15 games last season.

Hatcher, 32, has produced 71 goals, 227 assists and 1,388 penalty minutes in 842 NHL games with the Stars and Red Wings. He also played for the United States in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano.

"We are disappointed that Derian will not be a member of this team," Team USA general manager Larry Pleau said. "But with Eric's addition to the roster, Team USA is receiving a highly proven veteran on defense who possesses outstanding leadership skills and international experience."

Weinrich, 37, recorded two goals and eight assists in 26 games with the Blues last season. He spent the first 54 games of the 2003-04 campaign with the Philadelphia Flyers, producing two goals and seven assists.

In 1,082 career NHL games with seven teams, Weinrich has posted 69 goals, 302 assists and 773 penalty minutes.

The United States will begin competition against Canada on Aug. 31 after three exhibition games.