CALGARY - The first 18 players announced to the Team Canada roster for the 2017 IIHF World Championship have collectively amassed international hardware from some of the game's marquee events, including the IIHF World Junior Championship, IIHF World Championship, and Olympic Winter Games.
Following the NHL regular season's wind-up, Hockey Canada has confirmed that the following players will be suiting up for their country next month:
- In goal, Eric Comrie (Edmonton/Winnipeg, NHL) and Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg/Colorado, NHL);
- Defencemen Tyson Barrie (Victoria, B.C./Colorado, NHL), Calvin De Haan (Carp, Ont./New York Islanders, NHL), Jason Demers (Dorval, Que./Florida, NHL), Michael Matheson (Pointe-Claire, Que./Florida, NHL), and Josh Morrissey (Calgary/Winnipeg, NHL);
- And forwards Sean Couturier (Bathurst, N.B./Philadelphia, NHL), Matt Duchene (Haliburton, Ont./Colorado, NHL), Claude Giroux (Hearst, Ont./Philadelphia, NHL), Alex Killorn (Beaconsfield, Que./Tampa Bay, NHL), Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Philadelphia, NHL), Ryan O'Reilly (Varna, Ont./Buffalo, NHL), Nathan MacKinnon (Cole Harbour, N.S./Colorado, NHL), Brayden Point (Calgary/Tampa Bay, NHL), Mark Scheifele (Kitchener, Ont./Winnipeg, NHL), Wayne Simmonds (Scarborough, Ont./Philadelphia, NHL), and Jeff Skinner (Toronto/Carolina, NHL).
The player selections were made by Team Canada's management group - general manager Ron Hextall (Brandon, Man./Philadelphia, NHL); assistant general manager Sean Burke (Windsor, Ont./Montreal, NHL); director of player personnel Larry Carrière (Montreal/Montreal, NHL); and Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), vice-president of hockey operations and national teams with Hockey Canada - with input from the coaching staff, which comprises head coach Jon Cooper (Prince George, B.C./Tampa Bay, NHL), Gerard Gallant (Summerside, P.E.I./Vegas, NHL), Dave Hakstol (Warburg, Alta./Philadelphia, NHL), and Dave King (Saskatoon, Sask.).
"It's always special when you get to represent your country, and you can see it from the quality of our initial list of players who will join us at Worlds," said Hextall. "Between them, these players have made 17 appearances at this very event, including 9 players who've come away as gold-medallists for Canada, and they can play a big role in helping set the tone for this team. Our coaches have a lot to work with, and we will be ready to ice a competitive team in Paris for our opening game on May 5."
Of the first 18 players named to the roster, five were part of the team that captured gold at the 2016 IIHF World Championship (Pickard, Matheson, Duchene, O'Reilly, Scheifele), six were 2 selected to play at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey (Team Canada - Duchene, Giroux, O'Reilly; Team North America - Couturier, MacKinnon, Scheifele), and six also won gold at the 2015 IIHF World Championship (Barrie, Couturier, Duchene, Giroux, O'Reilly, MacKinnon).
Team Canada hits the ice in Geneva, Switzerland, for a pre-tournament camp, which includes a tune-up game on May 2 against the Swiss. Canada opens the 2017 IIHF World Championship against the Czech Republic on Friday, May 5, with preliminary-round games scheduled through Tuesday, May 16.
The bronze- and gold-medal games will take place on Sunday, May 21.