LOS ANGELES – Three Los Angeles Kings prospects – goaltender Jonathan Bernier
, defenseman Thomas Hickey
and forward Wayne Simmonds – have been selected to represent Canada at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship tournament, the Kings today announced in conjunction with Hockey Canada. With three players selected for Canada’s 22-man roster, the Kings have more prospects on the team than any other NHL club. The roster, featuring the best Canadian players under the age of 20, will compete in Pardubice and Liberec, Czech Republic, from December 26 through January 5, 2008.
“We are extremely proud of the three players selected to represent Canada at the most prestigious junior tournament,” said Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi. “It is testament to their status as top prospects as well as the diligent efforts of our scouting staff.”
In addition, forward Oscar Moller, another Kings prospect, will skate for Team Sweden in the same tournament.
Bernier, 19, was a Kings’ first-round selection (11th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He currently plays for Lewiston of the Quebec Major Junior League after starting the season with the Kings. The 5-11, 177-pound native of Laval, Quebec, played for Team Canada at the 2007 Super Series, a pre-season tournament that featured the best young players from both Canada and Russia. Bernier went 2-0-1 with one shutout in his three Super Series appearances while finishing with a save-percentage of .945. In 15 games with Lewiston this season, he has a record of 7-7-1, a goals-against-average of 2.95 and a save-percentage of .903.
Hickey, 18, was a Kings’ first-round selection (4th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He currently plays for Seattle of the Western Hockey League. Like Bernier, Hickey also played for Team Canada at the recent Super Series, where he had four assists in eight games. The 5-11, 182-pound native of Calgary, Alberta, leads all Seattle defensemen and ranks fourth overall on his club in scoring (30 GP, 7-13=20).
Simmonds, 19, was a Kings’ second-round selection (61st overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He began the season with Owen Sound (29 GP, 17-22=39) and currently plays for Sault Ste. Marie (3 GP, 2-0=2) of the Ontario Hockey League. Simmonds is a 6-1, 162-pound native of Scarborough, Ontario.
Moller, 18, was a Kings’ second-round selection (52nd overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He currently plays for Chilliwack of the Western Hockey League. The 5-11, 179-pound native of Stockholm, Sweden, leads the WHL in goals (25) and ranks third in the league in overall scoring (34 GP, 25-25=50).
Bernier, Hickey and Simmonds will be going for their country’s fourth straight gold medal when Canada opens tournament play on December 26 against the Czech Republic. Moller and Team Sweden will also open tournament play on December 26 versus Slovakia.
For more information on the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship, or Canada’s National Junior Team, visit Hockey Canada’s official website www.hockeycanada.ca and www.worldjuniors2008.com.