With just 23 days to go before the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off in Vancouver and Victoria, we now know the names of the players in the running to represent Canada.
Hockey Canada has revealed a list of 34 players who will make up the National Junior Selection Camp, taking place December 11-14 in Victoria.
Head coach Tim Hunter will have to trim his roster to 23 by the end of camp, in time for exhibition tune-up games, which begin on December 19.
“Our evaluation process through summer camp, the CHL season, Canada-Russia Series, and now selection camp allows us to assess and assemble the top Canadian players to represent our country,” said Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s director of men’s national teams. “Our final decisions will be difficult ones, but we couldn’t be more excited to gather in Victoria and begin the road to representing Canada in Vancouver.”
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Local hockey fans will be happy to see that Michael DiPietro — the favourite to land the starting goalie spot — has been named to the roster. The final goalie cut from last year’s team, the 19-year-old Canucks draft pick is enjoying another strong season with the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL.
The news wasn’t so good for Jett Woo, Vancouver’s second-round draft pick earlier this year. A long shot to make it anyway, the 18-year-old was not chosen for camp.
For the first time in a long time, not a single BC-born player made the preliminary roster.
Other Canadian NHL teams with prospects named to the roster include goaltender Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs), defencemen Jacob Bernard-Docker (Ottawa Senators), Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers), and Josh Brook (Montreal Canadiens), as well as forwards Alex Formenton (Ottawa Senators) and Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens).
A total of 16 first-round draft picks were named to the Selection Camp. Just two players – forwards Brett Leason and Raphael Lavoie – are eligible for next year’s draft, taking place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Hockey Canada’s list contained one 17-year-old, prospect Alexis Lafreniere, who is an early favourite to go first overall in 2020. If he makes Team Canada, he’ll be the first since Connor McDavid to do it as a 17-year-old.
Hunter has a considerable amount of players with NHL experience to choose from, despite the fact that junior-aged prospects Robert Thomas (St Louis Blues) and Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) were not released by their respective NHL teams. Though unlikely, those teams can change their mind up until December 19.
Gabriel Vilardi, who was not sent back to junior this season and is currently on a conditioning stint with the AHL’s Ontario Reign, was loaned to Team Canada by the Los Angeles Kings.
Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers), Formenton (Ottawa Senators), Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Los Angles Kings), and Maxime Comtois (Anaheim Ducks) have all appeared in NHL games this season. Owen Tippett (Florida Panthers) appeared in seven NHL games last season.
Formenton and Comtois are the lone returnees from last year’s gold medal winning team.
Here’s Team Canada’s full Selection Camp roster:
|Michael DiPietro||Goaltender||Windsor (OHL)|
|Ian Scott||Goaltender||Prince Albert (WHL)|
|Matthew Villalta||Goaltender||Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)|
|Calen Addison||Defence||Lethbridge (WHL)|
|Nicolas Beaudin||Defence||Drummondville (QMJHL)|
|Jacob Bernard-Docker||Defence||University of North Dakota (NCHC)|
|Evan Bouchard||Defence||London (OHL)|
|Josh Brook||Defence||Moose Jaw (WHL)|
|Cameron Crotty||Defence||Boston University (HE)|
|Noah Dobson||Defence||Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)|
|Pierre-Olivier Joseph||Defence||Charlottetown (QMJHL)|
|Jared McIsaac||Defence||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|Ian Mitchell||Defence||University of Denver (NCHC)|
|Markus Phillips||Defence||Owen Sound (OHL)|
|Ty Smith||Defence||Spokane (WHL)|
|Jaret Anderson-Dolan||Forward||Spokane (WHL)|
|Shane Bowers||Forward||Boston University (HE)|
|Maxime Comtois||Forward||Drummondville (QMJHL)|
|Ty Dellandrea||Forward||Flint (OHL)|
|MacKenzie Entwistle||Forward||Hamilton (OHL)|
|Alex Formenton||Forward||London (OHL)|
|Liam Foudy||Forward||London (OHL)|
|Morgan Frost||Forward||Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)|
|Cody Glass||Forward||Portland (WHL)|
|Barrett Hayton||Forward||Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)|
|Alexis Lafrenière||Forward||Rimouski (QMJHL)|
|Raphaël Lavoie||Forward||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|Brett Leason||Forward||Prince Albert (WHL)|
|Isaac Ratcliffe||Forward||Guelph (OHL)|
|Jack Studnicka||Forward||Oshawa (OHL)|
|Nick Suzuki||Forward||Owen Sound (OHL)|
|Owen Tippett||Forward||Mississauga (OHL)|
|Joe Veleno||Forward||Drummondville (QMJHL)|
|Gabe Vilardi||Forward||Los Angeles (NHL)|
Canada’s pre-tournament schedule begins December 19 and 21 with games against Switzerland and Slovakia in Victoria. Their lone exhibition game in Vancouver is December 23 against Finland.
The tournament begins for real for Canada against Denmark on December 26. The gold medal game is scheduled for January 5.