The Winnipeg Jets will be represented on and off the ice when the 2014 IIHF World Championship gets underway on May 9, in Minsk, Belarus.
Mark Scheifele is one of a number of young NHL players who will lead Canada on the ice, while Paul Maurice will join Dave Tippett and Peter DeBoer behind the bench.
Scheifele had the breakout year Jets fans have been waiting for, playing in 63 games in 2013-14. He racked up 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 and was a plus-nine on the season. The 21-year-old appeared to just scratch the surface with those numbers. With his speed and quick release Scheifele is capable of scoring 30 goals and notching at least 70 points.
Oh and Mark Scheifele is also joining Canada for the Worlds. Cleared for full practice, should be ready by Game 1. #NHLJets
— Paul Friesen (@friesensunmedia) April 16, 2014
Playing alongside some other talented, offensive-minded youngsters like Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Monahan and Nazem Kadri should benefit Scheifele, as he continues to improve his playmaking skills and vision. Playing in meaningful games, especially elimination games will also serve as good experience for a player who has appeared in just 10 professional playoff games.
Scheifele does have experience playing for Canada, having suited up in the under-18 tournament, world junior tournament and Canada vs. Russia challenge. In 17 games he has nine goals and nine assists for 18 points.
Maurice will serve as an assistant along with DeBoer, as Tippett assumes the role of head coach. Maurice signed a four-year contract with the Jets after leading them to an 18-12-5 record in taking over for Claude Noel midseason.
Maurice has plenty of coaching experience at the professional level. He coached his 1,000th NHL game at age 43, the youngest in history to reach that milestone. He’s coached the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes twice, the Toronto Maple Leafs and spent a year in Russia as the bench boss of the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk. But, this will be his first time coaching in a major international tournament.
It’s a great opportunity for Maurice to work with some young Canadian stars and talk strategy with two of the more underrated coaches in the NHL.
In addition to Scheifele and Maurice, the Jets will be represented by their head equipment manager, Jason McMaster. McMaster has had the job since the team moved to Winnipeg and was previously an assistant equipment manager with the Los Angeles Kings.
Eric is a postgraduate public relations student at Humber College. Prior to that he obtained a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor. He covers the Winnipeg Jets for The Hockey Writers and is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.