CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Wednesday the 22 players that will comprise Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, set for April 14-24 in Crimmitschau and Dresden, Germany.
The roster is comprised of players born in 1993 or earlier whose teams are no longer competing in the CHL playoffs with their respective club teams. Many of Canada’s players named today will be among the top selections at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn., in June.
Canada’s coaching staff – head coach Mike Williamson and assistant coaches Dale Hawerchuk and Mark Lamb – collaborated with Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations/national teams, Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s manager of hockey operations/national teams and Kevin Prendergast, Hockey Canada’s head scout for the men’s Program of Excellence, to finalize the roster.
“As a coaching staff we are looking forward to getting together with the players we have chosen and working towards our goal of a gold medal for Canada,” said Williamson. “A number of these players have previous international experience, and that will prove invaluable in Germany.”
Canada’s roster includes 14 players from the Ontario Hockey League, six players from the Western Hockey League and two players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Five players helped Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team capture the gold medal at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in August 2010 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and one player (Ryan Murray) represented Canada at the 2010 IIHF World Under-18 Championship as an underage player.
Canada’s roster also includes 12 players who took part in the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins, Ont., and three players who competed at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie, Man.
The support staff for Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team has also been announced. Chris Linder (Vancouver, B.C./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) is the team’s athletic therapist, Brian St-Louis (Hull, Que./Baie-Comeau, QMJHL) is the team’s equipment manager, Gary MacLean (Albert Bridge, N.S./Cape Breton, QMJHL) will serve as the team’s education consultant and Dr. Cole Beavis (Saskatoon, Sask.) will be the team’s doctor while in Germany.
Canada is a two-time gold medallist at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, earning gold in 20. It finished seventh at the 2010 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Minsk and Bobruisk, Belarus.
The team will gather in Toronto, Ont., on Wednesday, April 6 before flying to Europe on April 7. Team Canada has one on-ice session at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, at noon ET on April 7, before departing to Germany. The coaches and players will be available to the media following the team’s practice.
Prior to the world championship, Canada will play three exhibition games: April 9 vs. the United States in Dresden, April 11 vs. Sweden in Crimmitschau and April 12 vs. Germany in Dresden.
The 2011 IIHF World Under-18 Championship opens for Canada on April 15 in Dresden when it takes on the Czech Republic. The Canadians will also face Finland, Sweden and Norway in the preliminary round.
TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast Canada’s final preliminary round game against Sweden on Tuesday, April 19, a quarter-final on Thursday, April 21, a semifinal on Saturday, April 23 and both medal games on Sunday, April 24. Check your local listings for game times in your area.