Team Canada is all set to take another run at World Junior gold as they have named the 22-man roster that will take part in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. After bowing out in the quarterfinals last year, this roster has a lot of work to do.
Five players are returning from that tournament in Helsinki. They are Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters (OHL), Matthew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), Thomas Chabot of the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), Julien Gauthier of the Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL) and Mitchell Stephens of the Saginaw Spirit (OHL).
Canada did get lucky in this regard as Strome, Barzal and Chabot all began in the season with their respective NHL teams before being sent back to Junior. Unfortunately, Canada is missing out on players such as Mitch Marner, Travis Konecny and Anthony Beauvillier as they were all retained by their NHL clubs. Probable first overall pick Nolan Patrick will also miss the tournament because of an injury after being named to the camp.
Let’s look at the rest of the roster.
Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Connor Ingram, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Kale Clague, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Dante Fabbro, Boston University (NCAA)
Noah Juulsen, Everett Silvertips (WHL)
Jérémy Lauzon, Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Philippe Myers, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
Anthony Cirelli, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Dillon Dubé, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
Mathieu Joseph, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Tyson Jost, University of North Dakota (NCAA)
Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL)
Nicolas Roy, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL)
Blake Speers, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
Head Coach Dominique Ducharme had this to say about the roster.
We’ve had a great selection camp and I can see this group of players really beginning to work togetherand getting better everyday… It’s never easy to make the difficult decisions of releasing players, and that’s a testament to Canada’s depth of talent. Kris, Tim and I are looking to fine-tune our game and be ready when we start the tournament on Boxing Day.
Canada played the Czech Republic in their final exhibition game on Wednesday night, crushing their opposition 8-0. Stephens and Raddysh both had two goals each with Gauthier, Dube, Cirelli and Barzal scoring the other goals. The final cuts were made after the game as goaltender Michael McNiven, defensemen Samuel Girard and Guillaume Brisebois and forwards Sam Steel and Zach Sensyshyn were sent back to their junior teams.
Canada will play three pre-tournament games prior to Boxing Day: December 19 in Montreal against Finland, December 21 in Ottawa against the Czech Republic and December 23 in Toronto against Switzerland. They then kick off the tournament against Russia on, of course, Boxing Day. They last won the Gold Medal two years ago when the tournament was held in Toronto and Montreal. With the tournament once again being held in those cities, the hope is that Canada can once again reign atop the junior throne