Scott Stinson: Breaking down Canada’s WJHC 2018 choice camp roster

It is likely one of the higher indicators of the passion-slash-madness that Canada has for the World Junior Hockey Championship that the announcement of the coaching camp roster is nationally televised. That was to be adopted by a prime-time particular and what will probably be frequent updates on which of the 34 youngsters will try and defend the gold medal gained final 12 months. We stay nuts for this factor. However different nations are catching up: witness the 5 totally different nations which have gained the gold medal over the past eight tournaments, or the truth that the Swedes had been so devastated by shedding the ultimate final 12 months that the captain fired his silver medal into the stands. Canada not holds the monopoly on emotional funding on the earth juniors, however it’s the one nation that has a title sponsor for camp. So, what was realized on the announcement of the Nationwide Junior Crew Sport Chek Choice Camp roster?

Nick Suzuki #37 of the Owen Sound Assault skates in opposition to the Peterborough Petes in an OHL recreation on the Peterborough Memorial Centre on November 15, 2018 in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Claus Andersen/Getty Photographs

The Large O

Of the 19 forwards invited to camp, 10 of them are enjoying within the Ontario Hockey League. Head coach Tim Hunter mentioned on a convention name on Monday that junior leagues ebb and circulation when it comes to out there expertise. “Proper now the cycle is there are much more expert forwards within the OHL than anyplace else,” he mentioned, of a bunch that features Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound) and Alex Formenton (London), who performed 9 video games for the Ottawa Senators this season earlier than returning to junior. Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen mentioned the administration group didn’t fear about league stability when assembling the roster, which incorporates three forwards from the WHL and 4 from Quebec. “We’re probably not trying regionally in any respect,” he mentioned. Proof of that: There are simply seven gamers in complete from the WHL, regardless of the match being performed this 12 months in Vancouver and Victoria.

Canada ahead Maxime Comtois (14) and Canada ahead Alex Formenton, proper, rejoice a objective in opposition to Sweden throughout third interval gold medal ultimate IIHF World Junior Championships hockey motion in Buffalo, N.Y., on Friday, January 5, 2018. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Contemporary turnover

Formenton and Maxime Comtois are the one two returnees from final 12 months’s gold-medal workforce, and Hunter mentioned they aren’t anticipating any late additions to the roster as NHL groups determine what to do with their younger expertise. The coach mentioned it will likely be useful to have at the least these two who’ve been by means of the world-junior ringer earlier than, not simply because they’re aware of the extent of competitors but additionally as a consequence of their expertise with the media and fan consideration that far exceeds what gamers usually see of their junior careers. Notably, not one of the defence invitees have performed on the earth junior earlier than, the place final 12 months’s squad was anchored by 4 returning defenders, together with match MVP Thomas Chabot.

Shane Bowers poses for a portrait after being chosen 28th general by the Ottawa Senators throughout the 2017 NHL Draft on the United Heart on June 23, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Stacy Revere/Getty Photographs


Along with Suzuki and Formenton, the Canadian coaching camp roster contains one other half-dozen gamers with hyperlinks to this nation’s NHL groups. Ahead Shane Bowers will probably be joined by fellow Ottawa Senators prospect Jacob Bernard-Docker, a defenceman who, like Bowers, performs his membership hockey within the NCAA. Defenceman Josh Brook was a second-round decide of the Montreal Canadiens in 2017 and Evan Boucher, one other defenceman, is property of the Edmonton Oilers. Two of the three goaltenders are from Canadian NHL organizations: Michael DiPietro (Vancouver) and Ian Scott (Toronto). DiPietro is the doubtless number-one goalie, however within the WJC that normally doesn’t imply a lot till the medal spherical. Scott, who didn’t participate in Crew Canada’s summer season exhibition video games, performed his means onto the workforce along with his sturdy play for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL this season, the place he’s 22-1 with a 1.61 goals-against common. “He’s actually regular within the web,” mentioned Hunter. ‘Little question he’s a succesful goalie.”

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ian Scott is scored on by Ottawa Senators’ Alex Formenton throughout time beyond regulation interval NHL Rookie Showdown hockey motion in Laval, Que., Saturday, September 8, 2018. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Males in opposition to boys

As has change into customized within the pre-tournament run-up, the Canadian workforce may have a collection of video games in opposition to an all-star workforce of college gamers, nearly all of whom may have accomplished their major-junior careers. Hunter mentioned the administration workforce likes to see their prospects go up in opposition to the “older, smarter, heavier” university-level gamers, who he mentioned play a method nearer to the AHL than what is often seen in junior. “Enjoying the medal spherical (of the world junior) is like enjoying in an AHL playoff recreation,” Hunter mentioned.

Jake Kryski #16 of the Calgary Hitmen fights for the puck in opposition to Josh Brook #2 of the Moose Jaw Warriors throughout a WHL recreation on the Scotiabank Saddledome on December 2, 2018 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Derek Leung/Getty Photographs

Residence turf

Whoever is finally chosen for the Canadian aspect, they are going to be anticipated to once more take pleasure in a raucous dwelling crowd after attendance challenges on the under-20 match over the previous few years. Ticket gross sales had been slower than anticipated in Montreal and Toronto for the final two occasions the match was held in Canada, and so they plummeted final 12 months in Buffalo, the place an anticipated cross-border deluge didn’t occur. Hockey Canada govt director Tom Renney mentioned on Monday that the video games in Vancouver and Victoria are nearly all offered out, even these not involving the house workforce. As soon as the roster is pared to 22 by mid-December, Canada and the opposite competing groups will participate in a collection of exhibition video games in 9 B.C. communities. That tour, after all, additionally has a title sponsor.

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