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World Juniors

Lafreniere misses second straight practice at Canada WJC selection camp

Projected No. 1 pick in 2020 NHL Draft expected to be ready for tournament opener

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, missed his second consecutive practice on Tuesday at Canada's selection camp for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.

"He just needs a few days off here, some maintenance time to rejuvenate," Canada general manager Mark Hunter said of Lafreniere, who's reportedly dealing with a nagging ankle injury. "It's a couple of bumps and bruises to clear up."

Canada's selection camp runs Dec. 9-12. Hunter said there hasn't been a decision about whether the Lafreniere will participate in the remainder of the camp.

"It's just kind of day by day," Hunter said.

Lafreniere is expected to be ready for the tournament, which will be held in Ostrava and Trinic, Czech Republic, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. Canada is in Group B and plays its first game against the United States on Dec. 26 in Ostrava.

The 18-year-old forward, who plays for Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior League, has 70 points (24 goals, 46 assists) in 32 games. That includes 11 points (four goals, seven assists) during a stretch of four games in five nights from Dec. 4-8.

Hunter said Lafreniere, who represented Canada at the 2019 WJC, will be on the team so it made more sense to give him an opportunity to rest before the team travels to Europe on Saturday.

"It was a decision by our group here," Hunter said. "We believe he needed a maintenance day to regroup and be ready. He played on the team last year, so going forward we all know he's going to be on the team this year."



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