HELSINKI, Finland – The roster is set; 23 players have earned their place on Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
Hockey Canada confirmed the final roster shortly after returning to Helsinki from Imatra, Finland, on Sunday evening. The team spent six days in Imatra and played pre-competition games againstBelarus on Saturday, and the Czech Republic on Sunday, before narrowing down to the final roster.
“Our goal is always to assemble the best possible team to represent Canada. We had a really good evaluation period in Toronto and Imatra, and were able to see how the players responded to different situations – from practices to games,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams for Hockey Canada. “These are never easy decisions, but we feel confident in the team we have and their ability to make the nation proud and give us all something to get behind this holiday season.”
Four players from the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship-winning team are included on the roster: Lawson Crouse (Mt. Brydges, Ont./Kingston, OHL), Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, B.C./Victoria, WHL), Brayden Point (Calgary/Moose Jaw, WHL), and Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, B.C./Vancouver, NHL).
They are joined by:
Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood (Thunder Bay, Ont./Barrie, OHL), Mason McDonald (Halifax/Charlottetown, QMJHL), Samuel Montembeault (Bécancour, Que./Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL);
Defencemen: Thomas Chabot (Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Que./Saint John, QMJHL), Travis Dermott (Newmarket, Ont./Erie, OHL), Haydn Fleury (Carlyle, Sask./Red Deer, WHL), Brandon Hickey (Leduc, Alta./Boston University, HE), Roland McKeown (Listowel, Ont./Kingston, OHL), Travis Sanheim (Elkhorn, Man./Calgary, WHL);
Forwards: Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam, B.C./Seattle, WHL), Anthony Beauvillier (Sorel, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL),Rourke Chartier (Saskatoon, Sask./Kelowna, WHL), Julien Gauthier (Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que./Val-d’Or, QMJHL),Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Ottawa, OHL), Mitchell Marner (Thornhill, Ont./London, OHL),Brendan Perlini (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./Niagara, OHL), John Quenneville (Edmonton/Brandon, WHL), Mitchell Stephens (Peterborough, Ont./Saginaw, OHL), Dylan Strome (Mississauga, Ont./Erie, OHL).
Canada won gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship on home ice in January. The team has not won in Europe since 2008 – the fourth of five consecutive gold medals for Canada’s National Junior Team from 2005-09.
Canada opens the tournament against the United States on Saturday, Dec. 26 at 2 p.m. ET. Hockey Canada’s official broadcasters, TSN and RDS, are scheduled to broadcast all tournament games, including the last of three pre-tournament games on Dec. 23; check local listings for details.