CALGARY, AB --- Newfoundland native Daniel Cleary, high-scoring star of the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League, will join Canada's National Team as it tours Newfoundland, Canadian Hockey announced Tuesday.
Cleary will join the National team on Wednesday, March 27 for the opening game of the Cabot Cup tournament in St. John's against the Czech Republic. The OHL's Bulls lost a best-of-seven first-round playoff series 4-2 to the Ottawa 67's on Tuesday night, which made Cleary available for the swing through his native province with the National team. Canada has split the opening two games of a three-game series against the Czechs, winning 4-3 on March 23 in corner Brook and losing 7-3 in Grand Falls on March 24. The National team was slated to play the third and final game of the series on Wednesday night in Harbour Grace, Cleary's hometown.
'It's just too bad that logistics and the timing of the Bulls' playoff series against Ottawa prevented Daniel from joining us for the game in Harbour Grace,' said Mike Johnston, general manager and associate coach of Canada's National Team. 'We're really excited that he's joining us for the Cabot Cup and think these games against the Czech Republic and the German National Team will be a wonderful development opportunity for him, as well.'
Cleary, 18, is one of the most talented snipers in the Canadian Hockey League, and is expected to be a high first-round draft pick in the National Hockey League's Entry Draft in June. He amassed 80 points this season on 32 goals and 48 assists. In the six-game Ottawa series, Cleary scored three goals and added four assists for seven points. For the past two years, Cleary has been a late cut at Canada's National Junior Team's December selection camp.
The National team also has added University of Guelph Gryphons goaltender Matt Mullin to their roster for the Newfoundland tour, as well as forward Jason Weaver and defenceman Bryan Casey, both of Acadia University. As well, National team member Dean Evason, Canada's leading scorer this season with 22 goals and 38 assists for 60 points in 48 games, will be rejoining the team this week from Zug, Switzerland. The National team had loaned Evason to the Swiss Elite League team for their playoff drive.
Team Canada plays the Czech Republic on Wednesday, 26 March in Harbour Grace, then moves to St. John's to compete in the Cabot Cup fomMarch 27-30. The team also plays a four-game series against Germany, with games in Happy Valley on April 1-2, Bathurst, NB on April 4 and Amherst, NS on April 5.