CALGARY, AB -- A back strain will prevent Calgary Flames centre Sean Monahan
from representing Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The decision to miss the World Cup is a precautionary measure.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” Monahan said. “It’s something that I looked forward to. It’s a long summer so you want to get back playing right away. It’s in Toronto, too. It was going to be nice to have a lot of family and friends who don’t get to watch me often. It’s disappointing, but at the same time my commitment is to the Flames. I just want to make sure I’m 100 percent for Oct. 12 [regular-season opener at the Edmonton Oilers].”
The back strain occurred while training for the upcoming season.
"Sean Monahan has sustained a back strain during his pre-season training, and as a result will not be able to participate in the upcoming World Cup of Hockey with Team North America,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. “We anticipate that this is not a long term issue and plan on having Sean healthy and ready for the start of our training camp.”
Monahan, 21, was second on the Flames last season with 27 goals, five game-winning goals, seven power-play goals and 63 points. He's scored at least 20 goals in each of his first three seasons in the NHL, including 31 goals in 2014-15, and has had at least 60 points in his last two seasons.
Monahan and teammate Johnny Gaudreau were named to Team North America on Feb. 3.
“Camp is just a couple weeks away,” Monahan said. “Right now I think I just need some downtime. I’ve been training a lot this summer and training hard. I just tweaked something and it needs some time. I just don’t think I’ll be 100 percent for Sunday for the North America camp. I don’t think it’s fair to not play any exhibition games or not practice with the team and then go right into the tournament.
“It’s just going to be some time off. It’s something I don’t want to hop into a practice at full speed right now. I want to take some time and make sure I’m good and make sure I don’t have anything nagging me during the season. It’s more precautionary than anything. I’m going to see our team trainers and doctors in the next couple of days to get everything sorted out.”
Eight teams -- Team North America, Team Canada, Team Finland, Team Czech Republic, Team Europe, Team Russia, Team Sweden, and Team USA -- will compete at the World Cup from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Along with Gaudreau, forwards Michael Frolik (Team Czech Republic) and Mikael Backlund (Team Sweden), and defenceman Jyrki Jokipakka (Team Finland) will represent the Flames in the tournament.
“It’s going to be fun to watch now,” Monahan said. “It’s definitely going to be disappointing not being able to play. I was really excited for that. Johnny’s going to be there. I’m not sure if we would’ve played together or not, but I think it would’ve been a great experience. I’m pretty bummed out I don’t get to experience that, but at the same time my commitment is to the Flames. That’s the bigger picture right now. I just want to be ready for the season at 100 percent.”