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Cizikas and de Haan to Represent Canada at WJC

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
It’s that time of year again when the International Ice Hockey Federation presents the World Junior Championships. This year, Islanders prospect Casey Cizikas has made Team Canada’s final roster and will represent his country alongside his fellow Islanders prospect Calvin de Haan. This will be de Haan’s second appearance in the tournament.

The World Junior Championships will take place from December 26, 2010 through January 5, 2011 in Buffalo.

Representing their home country in this international tournament is one of the best experiences young hockey players get to take part in and when they look back on this experience in years to come, wearing the colors of their country is among one of the most memorable times they’ve had. Even de Haan, who took part in the tournament last year, knows how memorable this event can be.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” de Haan said. “I put on the jersey for the first time today and I had a huge smile on. It’s just a huge honor. We’re playing for our whole country here and they’re very passionate about hockey. We’re going to do our best to bring home Gold this year.”

Calvin de Haan #3 of the New York Islanders plays the puck against the New Jersey Devils during the preseason game at the Prudential Center on October 1, 2010 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/AM Photography/Getty Images)
Last season, de Haan tallied one assist with a +4 rating in four games to help his team to a silver medal. The 19-year-old defenseman also played represented Canada in the Under-18 World Juniors in 2009.

As he is playing in the tournament for the second time, there have been talks about de Haan potentially getting the nod as team captain. He said he’d be very honored to hold that responsibility.

“That would be an unbelievable feeling,” de Haan said. “We have a group of 22 leaders on our team right now, but putting the C on my jersey would an incredible feeling.”

de Haan is currently playing in his third season with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. After suffering a shoulder injury which kept him sidelined for half of last season, the Ottawa, Ontario native is healthy and is off to a great start. In 34 games, he has the most points of all Generals defensemen with 2 goals and 19 assists for 21 points.

As Cizikas and de Haan make the journey to Buffalo to play in the World Junior Championships, the Islanders prospects are looking forward to playing with one another as they represent Canada in the fight for the gold medal.

“(Casey and I have) been hanging out here and there and we’ve been going to all these camps,” de Haan said. “We’re a pretty good bunch so we get a long very well and playing in the tournament is going to be a blast.”

Cizikas, who was selected by the Islanders in the fourth-round (92nd overall) of the 2009 Entry Draft, is currently playing in his fourth season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League. With 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 28 games, the 19-year-old center currently ranks second on the Majors in points, scoring an average of 1.29 points per game.

In 68 games last season, the native of Toronto, Ontario recorded career highs in goals (25), assists (37) and points (62). Cizikas led the Majors in assists and co-led the team in points. With those totals, he recorded a team-high +32 ranking.
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