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Sharing the dream

The Saint John Sea Dogs are well-represented at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, with four players chasing gold on home ice

Craig Eagles
|
November 04, 2018

Every young Canadian hockey player dreams of representing their country by donning the Maple Leaf.

It’s a dream that comes true this week for four members of the Saint John Sea Dogs, who are on familiar ice going for gold at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Charlie DesRoches, Josh Lawrence, Jérémie Poirier and William Villeneuve make up one of the largest contingents from a single Canadian Hockey League team since Canada went to three national U17 teams in 2014.

(The Sea Dogs’ QMJHL rivals, the Shawinigan Cataractes, also have four players at the tournament.)

“It’s huge. It’s everything you dream of as a kid,” says DesRoches, the only one of the four not to be taken in the first round of the QMJHL Entry Draft (he went at No. 32 in the second). “It’s going to be a real honour to be a part of [the tournament]. I just want to take it all in and not take it for granted.”

The Saint John quartet may only be 16, but their childhood memories of watching Team Canada have certainly inspired them on their journey thus far.

Every passionate Canadian hockey fan has their own Team Canada memory – from Paul Henderson in 1972, to Wayne Gretzky hooking up with Mario Lemieux in 1987, to Sidney Crosby and the Golden Goal in 2010 – and these four are no different.

“My family and I always watched the World Juniors,” says Lawrence, one of two New Brunswick products to make the final Team Canada cut. “It’s an unbelievable feeling and it gives you chills to think about representing your country.

“I remember screaming and yelling when Crosby scored in 2010. It was a crazy feeling watching that and now to put on a Maple Leaf, it’s a dream come true.”

And while the chance to make memories of their own is front of mind, the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge presents an even bigger opportunity – to grow, develop and take what they learn back to the Sea Dogs.

Saint John head coach Josh Dixon – who has U17 experience of his own as an assistant coach with Canada Black in 2014 – knows what the tournament can do for a young player’s game, and their confidence.

“I’m excited for all four young men to have the opportunity to represent their country,” Dixon says. “The U17s will make them all better individually, and most importantly it will make them all better team players the next time they play for Canada and for the Sea Dogs.”

Just one small catch – they’ll have to learn to be better team players … on separate teams.

When Canadian rosters were announced in late October, the four Sea Dogs were spread across the three teams – DesRoches and Poirier will play for Canada White, Lawrence for Canada Black and Villeneuve for Canada Red.

Before they had even traded in their Sea Dogs sweaters for Canadian colours, the friendly rivalry had already begun.

“It’s going to be a great tournament, but there’s also bragging rights on the line,” says DesRoches.

“I’m playing against Charlie and Jérémie the first game so we have been going at it a little bit,” adds Lawrence. “It’s all in fun, but I’m just really excited to get the tournament started.”

2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge comes to a close in New Brunswick

Team Canada Red falls to Sweden in a shootout in bronze medal game

NR.087.18
|
November 11, 2018

SAINT JOHN, N.B. – After 10 days of games, the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge has wrapped up in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B., with Russia taking home gold, Finland capturing silver and Sweden winning bronze.

In the gold medal game, Eero Niemi opened the scoring for Finland less than five minutes in when he fired a rebound past Russian goaltender Yaroslav Askarov. Russia answered with a shorthanded goal from Daniil Gushchin just under five minutes in to the second period, and Ignat Kokhanin supplied the game-winner late in the middle frame, securing a fourth U17 gold medal for Russia.

Askarov backstopped the Russians to victory, making 22 saves.

Following the gold medal game, the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge all-star team was announced:

  • Goaltender: Yaroslav Askarov (Russia)
  • Defence: Yan Kuznetsov (Russia)
  • Defence: Ryan O’Rourke (Team Canada Black)
  • Forward: Connor McClennon (Team Canada White)
  • Forward: Vasili Ponomaryov (Russia)
  • Forward: Lucas Raymond (Sweden)

Team Canada Red finishes fourth after falling to Sweden in shootout

In the bronze medal game earlier Saturday, Team Canada Red overcame a two-goal deficit to force overtime before falling to Sweden 4-3 in a shootout.

“This is my first time playing against countries like Sweden and Russia and Finland,” said Justin Sourdif (Surrey, B.C./Vancouver, WHL) following the game. “It was a great experience to play against those teams and to play against that level of competition.”

Jake Murray (Oakville, Ont./Kingston, OHL) opened the scoring just under seven minutes in on a shot from the point, but Sweden answered with goals by Daniel Ljungman, Zion Nybeck and Elliot Ekmark. 

On a delayed penalty with under six minutes remaining in the second period, William Dufour (Quebec City/Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) was credited for Team Canada Red’s second goal after and errant pass by the Swedes found the back of their own net. Jacob Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill./Sarnia, OHL) evened the score in the opening minutes of the third period, eventually sending the game into overtime. Lucas Raymond sealed the win and a bronze medal for Sweden with the lone goal in the shootout.

“We knew we had a special group and we didn’t want to end on a bad note. I think that turning point in the second period gave us a little bit of life and the crowd got into it,” said Louis Robitaille (Montreal/Victoriaville, QMJHL), head coach for Team Canada Red. “We battled hard and we need to be really proud of these young men.”

Dylan Garand (Victoria, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) stopped 45 shots in the loss.

For more information on the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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Coming to Canada

Born and raised in Switzerland, Théo Rochette has traded the Swiss cross for the Maple Leaf to begin a new chapter in his hockey story

Paul Edmonds
|
November 06, 2018

There are countless stories of young hockey players leaving home to pursue their career dreams in other places.

Most of those usually involve leaving one area of their country for another, but usually in the same general region. The chronicles of those crossing an ocean and traveling nearly 6,000 kilometres to do so are unique and certainly rare.

Enter Théo Rochette.

You may not have heard the name, but that’s likely about to change – and quickly.

When most 16-year-olds are more worried about which video game to purchase or passing their driver’s test, Rochette made a much more important life decision.

It involved leaving his home in Switzerland to accelerate his hockey plans of one day playing in the National Hockey League.

As a dual citizen with a strong lineage to Canada, Rochette made the choice to leave Switzerland, a place that’s nurtured his hockey path the last five years for Major Junior this season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“I told my dad I want to go to junior in Canada,” says Rochette, who speaks three languages: French, English and German. “There are more scouts and the door is more open to get to the NHL.”

“Here in Canada, it’s the best junior (hockey) in the world. It’s pretty cool. It’s a great advantage.”

His decision to relocate to Canada to play junior hockey is not exclusive, as European players have used the Canadian Hockey League (QMJHL, OHL and WHL) as a potential passage for career advancement for decades.

Where his transfer takes a distinct turn is his further decision to leave behind his international involvement in Swiss hockey to play for Canada on the world stage.

Born in Switzerland, Rochette moved to Canada at an early age and lived in Quebec for four years (six to 10 years old) before the family (including siblings) moved back to Switzerland.

His father, Stéphane, is a Quebec native, but has spent countless years in Switzerland refereeing at various levels. His mother, Christine, was born in France but has a lived most of her life in Switzerland.

Armed with those facts, it’s clear in understanding his connective roots to both Europe and North America. And as such, he wasn’t far off Hockey Canada’s scope when it comes to highly-skilled players with a potential to play for this country.

“We’re aware of dual citizens,” says Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen. “We actively look to see who they are. We don’t want to take players away from other programs, but we were open to this. He’s played hockey in Canada before. And the family approached us (about playing for Canada).”

It wasn’t long before the ask became a fit for both parties; Rochette tugged on a different style of red and white to represent Canada on the international stage as a member of Canada White at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

“We were looking for a commitment to play for Canada long term,” adds McEwen. “We didn’t want a springboard for other federations. When that happened, we were comfortable in pursuing it.”

As one of the 66 players selected to the three-team Canadian contingent, Rochette was the only one that didn’t attend Canada’s national under-17 development camp last summer, although his absence was not without sound justification.

In what was presumably his last international appearance for Switzerland, Rochette was competing at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer and Edmonton, Alta., where he recorded a goal and three points in six games.

That commitment conflicted with the U17 camp, but ultimately it didn’t diminish his chances of making the final roster.

“Our information was that he was a really good player,” says McEwen. “Then when we saw him at [the Hlinka Gretzky Cup] it proved to be correct. He was an underage at that event, and he played really well.”

Through what appears to be a seamless hockey transition in moving from Switzerland to Canada, what Hockey Canada is getting is a highly skilled and competitive player who could be a staple for this nation at future international events.

“He has the ability to possess the puck and he can create offence,” says McEwen. “Our philosophy in the program is to try and foster that skill. He really fits the mold in how we want to play. He has skill and the ability to make plays. He skates really well, plays fast and can process the game. He can make decisions while playing with pace. He fits really well in what we’re looking for.

“When I watched him in Chicoutimi he plays real good minutes. He didn’t look intimidated. He played and handled it really well. And they use him in all offensive situations.”

Should Rochette continue on the trajectory he’s expected, he could follow along a pathway of an already well established, but also teenaged, Swiss player in Nico Hischier, a budding superstar with the New Jersey Devils who was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

“I don’t know him personally,” says Rochette. “There’s a lot of people that I know that know him pretty well. But I like his style and how he plays. I watch a lot of players but he’s one of the players I watch a lot.”

Based on his skill and potential, could Rochette provide a similar attraction to NHL scouts and administrators when he becomes draft eligible in 2020?

Sure, says McEwen, but there’s still plenty of hockey to be played.

“When you compare him to his peers, there’s a really good chance for him to be a high draft pick. The success he’s having in the QMJHL; he’s producing. I think with the notoriety and production so far he has a chance to be a high draft pick.”

Until then, he’s now Canada’s to nurture.

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Growing up Guhle

Following his brother Brendan into the Program of Excellence isn’t anything new for Kaiden Guhle, who has long been guided by – and compared to – his older sibling

Jason La Rose
|
November 03, 2018

Kaiden Guhle has heard all the comparisons, and he understands them.

He is a defenceman, just like big brother Brendan. He was a very early pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, just like big brother Brendan. He patrols the blue-line for the Prince Albert Raiders, just like big brother Brendan.

And he doesn’t mind them one bit. After all, Brendan was a second-round NHL draft pick who had 21 games of big-league experience with the Buffalo Sabres before his 21st birthday.

So being compared to big brother Brendan? Yes, please.

“I try to take parts of his game and put it into mine,” Guhle says. “I love watching him; every time I watch him I look at what he does. I try to take his mentality and put it into what I do.

“We have always, coming up, kind of been doing the same thing.”

He’s adding another ‘same thing’ to the list this week, getting his first taste of international action as captain of Canada Red at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Brendan played in 2014, helping Pacific to a silver-medal finish in the final year of the Canadian regional team format.

Guhle, then just a few weeks shy of his 12th birthday, was at the tournament in Cape Breton, N.S., and remembers the support the Maritime crowd gave Pacific, and every Canadian entry.

Not surprisingly, he asked Brendan for a little bit of advice on how to approach the first step in the Program of Excellence. The answer was pretty simple.

“Listen,” Guhle says. “He told me he had a lot of fun here, tried to make friends with guys from Ontario, guys from Quebec, so I just try to do the same thing. All you can do is listen, work hard, listen to what your coaches are telling you, what teammates are telling you, and you always have to work your hardest.”

That is nothing new for the Sherwood Park, Alta., product, who worked his way to the top of the 2017 WHL draft. (Brendan was the No. 3 choice in 2012, two spots after reigning Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal.)

Guhle has played a supporting role early in his rookie season in Prince Albert, posting three points in 15 games for the Raiders, who are 16-1 and sitting atop the WHL standings and Canadian Hockey League rankings.

One would assume there’s a certain amount of pressure being the No. 1 pick on the No. 1 team in the country, but Guhle doesn’t see it that way. And he’s certainly not subscribing to theory that he has to be better than Brendan, who played three-and-a-half years for the Raiders.

“I try not to think about that,” he says of the expectations. “I try to think about myself and what I’m doing, and try to stay away from all the noise and all the hype that’s going around. I just try to get better, develop myself and learn as much as I can.”

Guhle will have plenty of opportunities to learn this week in Saint John and Quispamsis, and have a chance to do something big brother Brendan never did – leave the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with the top prize.

“I kind of joke around with him a little bit [about not winning gold], but it will be awesome just to represent my country,” he says. “Putting on that Maple Leaf is so special, and to win gold would make this experience so much better.”

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Eyes on the future in New Brunswick

Players to watch at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

ISS Hockey
|
November 02, 2018

Who will be looked upon in the dying minutes of a tie game? Who will be counted upon to provide leadership on the road to a gold medal? Who will make the key pass? Score the big goal? Make the huge save?

International Scouting Services has selected three players from each of the eight teams competing in Saint John and Quispamsis that it believes are players to watch at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Who made the list?

CANADA BLACK

QUINTON BYFIELD
dynamic offensive talent … great combination of size, strength and skill … offence-first mentality … very creative with the puck … playmaker who wants the puck … soft hands and quick stick

JAMIE DRYSDALE
footwork and skating are high-end … very good puck skills … can control a game from the point … can skate the puck out of trouble … calm under pressure … does everything with a purpose

JOSH LAWRENCE
creative playmaking centre … tremendous change of direction … plays with determination and passion … puck follows him around the ice … always a threat to score … quick, accurate wrist shot

CANADA RED

KAIDEN GUHLE
tremendous offensive instincts … elite skater with game-changing speed … uses quickness to gain advantages offensively and defensively … carries the puck with confidence

EVAN VIERLING
high-impact offensive forward … ability to dominate games … excellent quickness and agility … hard to handle in open ice … corrals bad passes with ease … makes smart decisions quickly

WILLIAM VILLENEUVE
puck-moving defenceman … makes a good first pass … not afraid to join the rush … makes a crisp outlet pass … quick feet for his size … knows how to get in position to shut down the rush

CANADA WHITE

CONNOR MCCLENNON
dangerous offensive forward … ability to create as goal-scorer and playmaker … extraordinary puck skills … exceptional on the PP … rarely misses a scoring chance … no panic with the puck

JAKE NEIGHBOURS
hard to play against … uses size to create space … strong along the wall … likes to drive to the net … gets hard, accurate shot off quickly … strong vision in the offensive zone … smart player

COLE PERFETTI
two-way forward … can create on the rush or cycle … makes everyone around him better … elusive speed … quick to jump into holes for loose pucks … always in the right spot at the right time

CZECH REPUBLIC

ONDREJ BALAZ
puck-moving defenceman … poised with the puck … excellent mobility … knows when to jump into the rush … doesn’t force the play … plays a smart game … good gap control … good on the PP

MAREK BLAHA
mobile two-way defenceman … tremendous skater … sees the ice well … creates opportunities for teammates … smart and passionate … uses speed to force turnovers … high panic point

JAN CIKHART
power forward … high compete level … likes to play physical … willing to play in the corners … goes up and down wing with a purpose … uses reach to protect the puck … hard shot

FINLAND

RONI HIRVONEN
very good offensive instincts … good skater with quickness and speed … excellent vision … high hockey IQ … dangerous on the PP … plays with energy … noticeable every shift

RUBEN RAFKIN
two-way mobile defenceman … good offensive instincts … likes to activate off the blue-line and join the rush ... makes difficult passes look easy … defensively responsible … uses his stick well

AATU RÄTY
slick offensive playmaker … can take control with a single shift … soft hands … excellent puck skills … can stick-handle through tight spaces … sees the ice well … reaches top speed quickly

RUSSIA

YAROSLAV ASKAROV
good balance in stand-up and butterfly … solid rebound control … quick legs … economizes his movements … very good concentration … extremely mobile … tremendous reflexes

MARAT KHUSNUTDINOV
first steps are way above average … has separation speed … makes plays at full speed … always has his head up … dangerous with the puck … quick release … finds open ice and quiet spots

VASILI PONOMARYOV
a threat whenever he has the puck … goal-scorer with lightning-quick release … good skater with quickness and speed … competes hard in all three zones … quality stick skills

SWEDEN

ALEXANDER HOLTZ
great combination of size and skill … is a threat as a goal-scorer and playmaker … uses linemates well to create opportunities … very good one-timer … dangerous with time and space

LUCAS RAYMOND
fast, smart and skilled … ability to be a difference maker in every game … one of the most electric players in his age group … very slick puck skills … dangerous in a 1-on-1 situation

JESPER WALLSTEDT
takes up a lot of the net … communicates well with his defencemen … plays with confidence … technique is fundamentally sound … tracks the puck well through traffic … covers the angles

UNITED STATES

TYLER KLEVEN
two-way defenceman … huge frame and physical presence … smooth stride with good mobility ... handles the puck with confidence … good hockey IQ … good decisions in all three zones

TY SMILIANIC
play-making centre … explosive first steps … beats you with speed or quick cuts … likes to challenge the opposition 1-on-1 ... wins the majority of races to pucks … crafty with the puck

LUKE TUCH
highly-skilled power forward … has tools to be an impact player … offensively creative … great instincts for the net … plays with an edge … great net-front presence … works hard down low

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Saint John and Quispamsis set to host 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Eight teams to compete for gold in New Brunswick

NR.084.18
|
November 01, 2018

SAINT JOHN & QUISPAMSIS, N.B. – The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is set to make its return to New Brunswick for the first time since 1995, as Saint John and Quispamsis will welcome the top under-17 players from eight international teams beginning Saturday.

From Nov. 3-10, the teams – Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red, Team Canada White, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States – will compete in 22 games over eight days as they look to claim gold.

“After months of hard work and preparation for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge from our community, we could not be more excited to welcome the teams and fans to New Brunswick,” said Aaron Kennedy, chair of the local host organizing committee. “With eight great international teams set to compete for a gold medal, we look forward to welcoming the world and ensuring a memorable experience for everyone involved in this world-class event.”

Team Canada Black, Team Canada White, the Czech Republic and the United States (Group A) will play their preliminary-round games at Harbour Station in Saint John, while Team Canada Red, Finland, Russia and Sweden (Group B) will play their preliminary-round games at the qplex in Quispamsis.

TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will broadcast both semifinals, as well as the bronze- and gold-medal games in Saint John. All preliminary-round, quarter-finals and placement games can be streamed live at HockeyCanada.ca/WU17.

Prior to the start of the tournament, teams will take to the ice in four New Brunswick communities for pre-tournament games on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. AT. Team Canada Black will take on Finland at the 8th Hussars Sports Centre in Sussex, Sweden will face off against the Czech Republic at the Patrick Connors Rec Complex in Blacks Harbour, Team Canada White will play Russia at the Tri-County Complex in Fredericton Junction, and Team Canada Red will match up against the United States at the Garcelon Civic Centre in St. Stephen. 

Tickets to the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge are available for purchase now. A $99 Harbour Station ticket package, which includes all Saint John preliminary-round games, quarter-finals, semifinals and the bronze- and gold-medal game, can be purchased at the Harbour Station box office. Single-game tickets are also available for purchase starting at $13 at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets.

The communities of Saint John and Quispamsis will receive the net proceeds from all ticket sales as a legacy of the event to support grassroots hockey within their communities as part of their hosting agreement with Hockey Canada. Additionally, recent editions of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge have resulted in as much as $6 million in economic impact within the host communities.

More than 1,700 NHL draft picks have suited up since the inception of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (previously known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, including 13 first-overall draft picks since 2001 (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014; Connor McDavid, 2015; and Auston Matthews, 2016).

For more information on the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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Provincial pride

A pair of New Brunswick products will don the red and white (and black) of Team Canada on home ice at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Hockey N.B.
|
October 30, 2018

Two elite New Brunswick natives will suit up for Team Canada close to home when the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge comes to Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B., from Nov. 3-10.

Josh Lawrence of Fredericton and Lukas Cormier of Sainte-Marie-de-Kent will have the opportunity to represent their country on home ice – an experience neither is taking lightly.

“It’s really exciting to play for Canada and it’s definitely an advantage to be on home ice in front of the hometown fans,” said Lawrence, a forward with the Saint John Sea Dogs. “Canada has some great fans and Saint John especially loves hockey, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to be able to play in front of them.”

The 16-year-old forward will play for Canada Black at the event. Lawrence is in his first year with the Sea Dogs after going 15th overall in the 2018 QMJHL draft. He credits the Hockey New Brunswick High Performance Program (HPP) with preparing him to play on the international stage.

“Being able to play for HNB U14, U15, U16, they’re all great experiences,” he says. “At that moment of my life, it’s a lot of pressure. But it helps build and prepare you for U17. It’s a lot of fun to be able to play. Hockey New Brunswick has been really great to me.”

The Hockey New Brunswick High Performance Program gives players and coaches the opportunity to be around the best in New Brunswick and be exposed to the elite level many will see in junior, university and national programs.

Cormier, a defenceman with Canada Red, is a rookie with the Charlottetown Islanders, who took him at No. 4 in the 2018 QMJHL draft. The 16-year-old also participated in the HPP, which exposed him to the best of the best and helped expand his skill-set.

“I’ve played in New Brunswick all my life,” Cormier says. “Playing against the best players helped me know where I stand and pushed me to get better, to see how I have to train to get where I want to go.”

Cormier got a taste of short-term competition last spring when his Moncton Flyers reached the TELUS Cup, Canada’s National Midget Championship. The Flyers didn’t make it past the preliminary round, but the experience prepared him for competing at a national level. Now, he’s ready to compete internationally.

“It’s going to be an unreal experience once we get on the ice,” he says. “It was exciting when I got the call and I can’t wait to represent my country for the first time. It’s a huge honour.”

Cormier is up first when Canada Red faces Russia on Nov. 3 at the qplex in Quispamsis, while Lawrence will debut in an all-Canadian match-up between Black and White on Nov. 4 at Harbour Station in Saint John.

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Canadian rosters unveiled for 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Three Canadian teams named for international showcase in Saint John and Quispamsis

NR.081.18
|
October 24, 2018

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada has announced the three Canadian rosters – Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red and Team Canada White – competing at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Nov. 3-10 in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.

With tournament action set to kick off in less than two weeks, the three teams will match up against the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States as they compete for a gold medal. 

The players chosen to represent Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge were selected by Brad McEwen (Whitewood, Sask.), head scout for Hockey Canada, with assistance from U17 POE management group lead Martin Mondou (Grand-Mère, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL), as well as regional scouts Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Barclay Branch (Ontario), Barclay Parneta (West), Darren Sutherland (Atlantic), and Darrell Woodley (Ontario). 

“After an exciting summer camp with 112 players gathering in Calgary and the selection of our 66-player roster last week, the unveiling of our three teams is one of the final stages as we prepare for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge,” said McEwen. “We are fortunate to be able to assemble three competitive, skilled teams, and we believe all 66 players will represent their country with pride in this prestigious event.”

Team Canada Black, Team Canada White, the Czech Republic and the United States will play all Group A preliminary-round games at Harbour Station in Saint John, while Team Canada Red, Finland, Russia and Sweden will play Group B games at the qplex in Quispamsis. Quarter-finals will be played at both venues, Quispamsis will host two placement games, and both semifinals and medal games will be played in Saint John. 

TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters for Hockey Canada, will air both semifinals on Friday, Nov. 9, as well as the bronze- and gold-medal games on Saturday, Nov. 10; please check local listings for details.

Prior to the start of the tournament, the teams will take to the ice in four New Brunswick communities on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. AT for pre-tournament games. Team Canada Black will take on Finland at the 8th Hussars Sports Centre in Sussex, N.B., Sweden will match up against the Czech Republic at the Patrick Connors Rec Complex in Blacks Harbour, N.B., Team Canada White will play Russia at the Tri-County Complex in Fredericton Junction, N.B., and Team Canada Red will face off against the United States at the Garcelon Civic Centre in St. Stephen, N.B.

Single-game tickets are now available online for as low as $13 at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets. A Harbour Station ticket package, which includes all preliminary-round games in Saint John, as well as both semifinals and the bronze- and gold-medal games, is also being offered for $99 and can be purchased at the Harbour Station box office.

The communities of Saint John and Quispamsis will receive the net proceeds from all ticket and ticket-package sales as a legacy of the event to support grassroots hockey within their communities as part of their hosting agreement with Hockey Canada. Recent editions of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge have resulted in as much as $6 million in economic impact within the host communities. 

More than 1,700 NHL draft picks have suited up since the inception of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (previously known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, including 13 first-overall draft picks since 2001 (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014; Connor McDavid, 2015; and Auston Matthews, 2016). 

For more information on the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hockey Canada names 66-player roster for 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Three Canadian teams to compete for gold in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.

NR.078.18
|
October 16, 2018

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced its 66-player roster selected to represent Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, set for Nov. 3-10 in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.

The 66 players will be divided into three teams – Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red, and Team Canada White – and will compete against the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States in their quest for a gold medal.

In July, 112 players were invited to participate in Canada’s national under-17 development camp and introduced to the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence. The players chosen to represent Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge were selected by Brad McEwen (Whitewood, Sask.), head scout for Hockey Canada, with assistance from U17 POE management group lead Martin Mondou (Grand-Mère, Que./Shawinigan, QMJHL), as well as regional scouts Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Barclay Branch (Ontario), Barclay Parneta (West), Darren Sutherland (Atlantic), and Darrell Woodley (Ontario).

“Any time you bring together the best young players in the country there are bound to be difficult decisions when selecting players, and we feel the 66 young men we chose exemplify the core values of the Program of Excellence,” said McEwen. “We believe that these players possess a willingness to learn and grow as they progress through our program and represent Canada, and give us the best chance to compete for a gold medal this November.” 

The tournament opens Saturday, Nov. 3 at the qplex in Quispamsis when Finland takes on Sweden at 3:30 p.m. AT, followed by Team Canada Red, silver-medallist last year, facing off against Russia at 7:30 p.m. AT. The United States will kick off the action at Harbour Station in Saint John on Sunday, Nov. 4 when it plays the Czech Republic at 12 p.m. AT, followed by an all-Canadian match-up between Team Canada Black and Team Canada White at 4 p.m. AT. 

TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters for Hockey Canada, will air both semifinals on Friday, Nov. 9, as well as the bronze- and gold-medal games on Saturday, Nov. 10; please check local listings for details. Media accreditation for the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge for Harbour Station in Saint John and qplex in Quispamsis can be requested online

After a successful ticket launch, full-event ticket packages for the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge are sold out. A $99 Harbour Station ticket package is now available for purchase at the Harbour Station box office and includes all preliminary-round games in Saint John, as well as both semifinals and the bronze- and gold-medal games. Single-game tickets are also available for purchase starting at $13 at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets.

The communities of Saint John and Quispamsis will receive the net proceeds from all ticket and ticket-package sales as a legacy of the event to support grassroots hockey within their communities as part of their hosting agreement with Hockey Canada. Additionally, recent editions of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge have resulted in as much as $6 million in economic impact within the host communities. 

More than 1,700 NHL draft picks have suited up since the inception of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (previously known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, including 13 first-overall draft picks since 2001 (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014; Connor McDavid, 2015; and Auston Matthews, 2016).

For more information on the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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Cantonniers come to Calgary

A quintet of Québécois – all of them TELUS Cup silver medallists – have brought their talents to Canada’s national under-17 development camp

Ali Wilson
|
July 27, 2018

From a successful playoff run that ended one win from gold at Canada’s National Midget Championship, to a spot among the nation’s best at Canada’s national under-17 development camp, it has been an eventful few months for five members of the Cantonniers de Magog.

Charles Beaudoin, Isaac Belliveau, Patrick Guay, Marshall Lessard and William Villeneuve represent the second-largest contingent of any club team on the ice in Calgary – only the Toronto Marlboros, with seven, have more.

They are just three months removed from a trip to the TELUS Cup in Sudbury, Ont., where they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Notre Dame Hounds in the national final.

“It was a bit tough to lose in the final against Notre Dame, but we did well over the past season; we are very proud,” says Villeneuve. “There was a lot of good chemistry with the teammates, and to be here (at camp) with four other teammates is great.”

Magog excelled in the Ligue de hockey midget AAA du Québec, topping the standings with a 27-7-6 record and scoring a league-high 161 goals; Guay led the way with 64 points, good for second in the league, while Villeneuve paced all blue-liners with 34.

It had a slight hiccup in the semifinals, surviving a back-and-forth seven-game series to eliminate Châteauguay before sweeping away Trois-Rivières in four straight to claim the LHMAAAQ title for the second time and punch their ticket to northern Ontario.

An extended season meant a short off-season, made even shorter by the invite to Calgary – the players arrived at camp just 83 days after the TELUS Cup gold medal game.

But with rosters spots at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge on the line, rest is the furthest thing from their minds.

“Extremely blessed,” Villeneuve says of being at camp. “I think it is a bonus for us after the great season we had to be here. To have fun, learn as much as possible, to have the best time here … I am very proud to be here.

“[It’s] a dream to represent your country; when I was young I look at the World Juniors and stuff like that. So, I am here now, and I am going to do whatever I can to make it.”

Guay in particular knows what it takes to be successful on the international stage – his older sister, Alexie, wore red and white last January at the 2018 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, bringing home a bronze medal from Russia.

“She just told me that I have to work hard throughout the entire week to get a spot on the team, and the compete level is very high on the international level,” he says. “I have got to work hard and do my best on the ice like she did at the U18s.”

When camp ends, another new chapter begins for the Cantonniers quintet. All five were early selections at the QMJHL Entry Draft – Villeneuve went second overall to Saint John, followed by Guay (No. 5), Beaudoin (No. 11), Lessard (No. 16) and Belliveau (No. 25) – and will depart for training camps in mid-August.

But just because they’ll be spread across Quebec and Atlantic Canada, it doesn’t mean the friendships will suffer. Winning championships brings teammates even closer, and the self-described “best friends” have a bond that no distance can break.

“Going up to junior we are going to go different ways, but we are going to continue to talk to each other, help each other,” Villeneuve says. “We know that at 16 years old it’s going to be tough; we are going to have some tough moments but I know next year is going to help us and we for sure are going to stay friends.

“We are like a big family.”

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For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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