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Coming together again

As the 2015 World Juniors hit the medal round, members of two past gold-medal-winning teams were recognized

Wendy Graves
|
January 04, 2015

Ask Dean McAmmond what he remembers most about winning a gold medal at the 1993 IIHF World Junior Championship and the first thing that springs to mind has nothing to do with what happened on the ice.

“I (felt like) Santa Claus on Christmas Day because it was the first time I was away from home,” he says. “Our team doctor dressed up.”

The hockey part was pretty memorable, too.

“(We were) a bunch of young-faced hockey players who were just in the beginning parts of their budding careers,” he says. McAmmond himself would go on to play 18 seasons in the NHL, reaching the Stanley Cup Final with the Ottawa Senators in 2007.

As the medal round for the 2015 World Juniors plays out in Toronto, Ont., over the next few days, members of the 1993 and 1994 teams have been reunited in recognition of their golden achievements.

“I think everyone at Hockey Canada and the Hockey Canada Foundation recognizes the importance of celebrating the game and the successes we’ve had,” says Chris Bright, executive director of the Hockey Canada Foundation. “It’s part of the mandate for the foundation to celebrate Canada’s hockey heritage.”

Some of the alumni hadn’t seen each other in 20 years.

“We’re talking about minor hockey and about our kids and grandkids and how they’re playing,” says Jos Canale, who was an assistant coach in 1993 and the head coach in 1994. “It’s nice to be part of a winning tradition. When you win you become a very close family.”

Brent Tully was also a member of both teams. In 1993 he was named to the tournament all-star team; the following year he served as Canada’s captain.

After winning in 1994 Tully proudly called his team “a bunch of no-name hockey players” in a televised interview. The team was an underdog, he says now, and wanted to prove they were better than people pegged them to be.

The team went undefeated but it wasn’t until the dying minutes of the last game against Sweden – medals were awarded after an eight-team round-robin – that the gold was iced.

“Aaron Gavey made a play with his stick that was unbelievable – a blind pass that would’ve been an empty net goal for them,” he says. Shortly after, Rick Girard scored an empty-netter and made it 6-4 Canada.

That was the first of three World Juniors gold medals for Jason Botterill. The groundwork for the team’s success, he says, was laid in Switzerland in the lead up the event.

“I think the support that guys felt on the bench, whether they played a lot or not, really started at that training camp,” he says.

Now in his role as associate general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Botterill watches and evaluates his team’s prospects from all the countries.

He wants to see future Penguins succeed, just not necessarily their teams.

“You’re always a fan at heart,” he says. “You’re certainly cheering for the maple leaf.”

The 1993 team didn’t wait as long to clinch its medal: it was secured with two games still to play.

“We luckily had a lot of time to enjoy our championship because we still had over half a week left of hockey,” says Adrian Aucoin. “It was probably a lot more fun than it should have been.”

The alumni have been kept busy in Toronto. In addition to the celebratory brunch on Friday, the players were recognized during Canada’s quarter-final game against Denmark, and they’ll make appearances at the McDonald’s Fan Zone and help launch a new public rink that was built with funds raised by the Hockey Canada Foundation.

But their weekend kicked off Thursday night when they meet and mingled with Canada’s current National Junior Team. The alumni talked to them about facing adversity and staying confident in the team. Mostly, though, the players simply shared their love of hockey.

Current defenceman Josh Morrissey told Aucoin about watching him play with the Flames when he was growing up in Calgary, Alta. And McAmmond and Morrissey talked about playing their junior hockey with the Prince Albert Raiders.

The players may have been meeting for the first time, but in the small world of hockey they quickly learned there’s far fewer than six degrees of separation.

“I’ve been on the ice with (Curtis) Lazar’s little brother,” says McAmmond, who coaches minor hockey in Lazar’s hometown of Vernon, B.C. “He’s a Peewee, same age as my son, so we connected on that level.”

The popularity and visibility of the World Juniors has grown considerably in the past two decades. But what hasn’t doesn’t change is the pride one feels in playing for his country.

“Twenty-some years later to be brought back – it makes you feel like you’re still part of it,” says McAmmond. “I’ve been retired for four years now; my playing career’s done but you always feel like you’re wearing the leaf on your chest.”

163 players invited to Canada's Program of Excellence summer camps

Junior, under-18 and under-17 prospects on the ice across Canada in July

NR.047.24
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July 16, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – Hockey Canada has invited 163 players to participate in its Program of Excellence summer camps – Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Showcase, Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp and Canada’s national under-17 development camp.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to host summer camps across our Program of Excellence this year and gain valuable insights into the development of our up-and-coming athletes,” said senior vice-president of high performance and hockey operations Scott Salmond (Creston, BC). “The athletes will gain experience in the operations of our program ahead of the 2024 U17 World Challenge, the 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the highly anticipated 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa.”

Forty-two players - four goaltenders, 13 defencemen and 25 forwards – have been invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Showcase, July 28 to Aug. 3 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, and south of the border in Plymouth, Michigan.

The camp roster features 38 players who have been selected in the NHL Draft, including 17 first-round picks: Colby Barlow (WPG), Cole Beaudoin (UHC), Oliver Bonk (PHI), Berkly Catton (SEA), Easton Cowan (TOR), Sam Dickinson (SJS), Tij Iginla (UHC), Cayden Lindstrom (CBJ), Jett Luchanko (PHI), Tanner Molendyk (NSH), Bradly Nadeau (CAR), Zayne Parekh (CGY), Calum Ritchie (COL), Beckett Sennecke (ANA), Matthew Wood (NSH), Brayden Yager (PIT) and Carter Yakemchuk (OTT).

The player selection process was led by Salmond and the management group, which includes Peter Anholt (Naicam, SK/Lethbridge, WHL) and Brent Seabrook (Tsawwassen, BC) with assistance from senior manager of hockey operations Benoit Roy (Sudbury, ON). Head coach Dave Cameron (Kinkora, PE/Ottawa, OHL) and assistant coaches Sylvain Favreau (Orleans, ON/Drummondville, QMJHL), Mike Johnston (Dartmouth, NS/Portland, WHL) and Chris Lazary (Toronto, ON/Saginaw, OHL) were also involved in the process.

As part of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp, 41 players – four goaltenders, 12 defencemen and 25 forwards – have been invited to compete to represent Canada at the 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, scheduled for Aug. 5-10 in Edmonton, Alberta. The selection camp, set for July 27-30 at the WinSport Event Centre in Calgary, will include a pair of Red-Black games on July 29-30. The roster includes five players who won gold at the 2024 IIHF U18 World Championship (Desnoyers, Hamilton, Ivankovic, McKenna, Schaefer).

Head scout Byron Bonora (Brooks, AB) led the player selection process with assistance from Salmond. U18 Program of Excellence management group lead Dave Brown (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON/Erie, OHL), head coach Kris Mallette (Kelowna, BC/Kelowna, WHL) and assistant coaches Gordie Dwyer (Dalhousie, NB/Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL) and Ryan Oulahen (Newmarket, ON/North Bay, OHL) also provided input.

Eighty players – eight goaltenders, 24 defencemen and 48 forwards – will take the ice at Joshua’s Creek Arenas in Oakville, Ontario as part of Canada’s national under-17 development camp, set to take place July 18-24. All 80 players have been drafted by Canadian Hockey League teams (39 from the OHL, 23 from the WHL and 18 from the QMJHL), while 17 represented Canada at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (Beites, Chartrand, Croskery, Di Iorio, Edwards, Ellsworth, Esler, Lawrence, Lin, O’Donnell, Preston, Liam Ruck, Markus Ruck, Rudolph, Valentini, Verhoeff, Wassilyn).

The player selection process was led by Bonora, with assistance from regional scouts Pierre Cholette (Quebec), Rob Simpson (Ontario), Darren Sutherland (Atlantic) and Darrell Woodley (Ontario), as well as Member representatives. Players will continue to be evaluated through the beginning of the 2024-25 season in preparation for the 2024 U17 World Challenge, scheduled for Nov. 1-9 in Sarnia, Ontario.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on FacebookX and Instagram.

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Dave Cameron, Sylvain Favreau, Mike Johnston, Chris Lazary and Justin Pogge.

National Junior Team staff named for 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship

Dave Cameron to serve as head coach; Sylvain Favreau, Mike Johnston, Chris Lazary named assistants

NR.042.24
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July 04, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – Hockey Canada has announced the coaching and support staffs that will lead Canada’s National Junior Team in its attempt to reclaim gold on home ice at the 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa, Ontario.

Dave Cameron (Kinkora, PE/Ottawa, OHL) returns to take the reins as head coach after leading Canada to a gold medal at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. He will be joined by assistant coaches Sylvain Favreau (Orleans, ON/Drummondville, QMJHL), Mike Johnston (Dartmouth, NS/Portland, WHL) and Chris Lazary (Toronto, ON/Saginaw, OHL), as well as goaltending consultant Justin Pogge (Penticton, BC) and video coach James Emery (Calgary, AB).

In addition, Peter Anholt (Naicam, SK/Lethbridge, WHL) will return as the U20 lead for the Program of Excellence management group, serving alongside three-time Stanley Cup champion and Olympic gold medallist Brent Seabrook (Tsawwassen, BC), who returns to the National Junior Team for the second-straight year. Anholt and Seabrook helped select the staff alongside Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of high performance and hockey operations, and Benoit Roy (Sudbury, ON), senior manager of hockey operations.

“Dave has won two gold medals at the World Juniors and has proven to be an excellent leader of Canada’s National Junior Team, and we are excited to have him return to coach our team as we look to reclaim gold in the nation’s capital this year. We are also fortunate to round out our coaching staff with Sylvain, Mike, Chris, Justin and James, as all seven will benefit our team with their extensive CHL and international experience,” Salmond said. “We are also fortunate to work with Peter and Brent again, as they have helped assemble a world-class staff and will be key factors in building a highly skilled team that fans in Ottawa and across the country will be proud to cheer for this holiday season.”

Cameron has served as head coach of the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for the past three seasons (2021-24), leading the team to three-straight playoff appearances and winning OHL and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Coach of the Year awards in 2022-23. He previously spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames (2016-18) and five seasons with the Ottawa Senators (2011-16) as head coach and assistant, and was the head coach and GM of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (1997-99) and Toronto St. Michael’s Majors (2000-04, 2009-10). Cameron was also an assistant with the St. John’s Maple Leafs (1999-2000) and head coach of the Binghamton Senators (2004-07) of the American Hockey League (AHL). Internationally, he has won four medals at the IIHF World Junior Championship, including silver and gold as head coach in 2011 and 2022, respectively, and gold and silver as an assistant in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Cameron also won gold medals as an assistant coach at the 2016 IIHF World Championship and as head coach at the 2004 Junior World Cup.

Favreau recently completed his first season as head coach of the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) after six seasons as head coach (2021-23) and assistant coach (2017-21) with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. This season, he led the Voltigeurs to a QMJHL championship and a spot at the Memorial Cup after finishing the regular season atop the Western Conference. Prior to making the jump to the QMJHL, he served as both an assistant (2009-11) and head coach (2011-15) of the Gloucester Rangers of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), and was head coach and director of hockey operations for the CCHL’s Cumberland Grads for two seasons (2015-17). Favreau won a gold medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and was an assistant with Canada Black and head coach of Canada White at the 2018 and 2019 U17 World Challenge, respectively.

Johnston has been senior vice-president, general manager and head coach of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL) for 13 seasons (2009-14, 2016-24), winning the U.S. Division Executive of the Year and Coach of the Year awards this season. He also became the 11th head coach in WHL history to win 500 games, and has led the Winterhawks to seven-consecutive 40-win seasons. Johnston has also served as an assistant (1999-2003) and associate coach (2003-04) with the Vancouver Canucks, an associate with the Los Angeles Kings (2005-08) and head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins (2014-16). He also coached Canada’s National Men’s Team from 1994-99, winning two gold medals (1997, 2007), two silver (1996, 2008) and one bronze (1995) at the IIHF World Championship. Johnston also won gold at three IIHF World Junior Championships (1994, 1995, 1996) as an assistant coach, was an assistant at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games and head coach at the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championship, and won the Spengler Cup in 1993.

Lazary has served as head coach of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit for the past five seasons (2018-24) after parts of three seasons (2016-18) as an associate coach with Saginaw and two seasons (2014-16) as an assistant with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He led the Spirit to a Memorial Cup championship as the host team this season, as well as back-to-back West Division titles (2018-19, 2019-20). Prior to his CHL coaching career, he spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant coach with the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and one season (2012-13) as an assistant with York University. Lazary was also named head coach of Canada Red for the 2020 U17 World Challenge, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The support staff that will work with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship includes:

  • Athletic therapists Kevin Elliott (Charlottetown, PE) and Andy Brown (Owen Sound, ON/Owen Sound, OHL)
  • Team physician Dr. R.J. MacKenzie (Albert Bridge, NS/Cape Breton, QMJHL)
  • Equipment managers Chris Cook (Ottawa, ON/Brantford, OHL) and Clayton Johns (Toronto, ON/Portland, WHL)
  • Strength and conditioning coach Sean Young (Ennismore, ON/Ottawa, OHL)
  • Mental performance consultant Luke Madill (Kirkland, QC)
  • Senior coordinator of hockey operations Jacob Grison (Lion’s Head, ON)
  • Media relations manager Spencer Sharkey (Hamilton, ON)
  • Coordinator of hockey operations Cassidy Wait (North Vancouver, BC) – camp staff
  • Hockey operations student Jared Power (Calgary, AB) – camp staff

“The coaching and support staffs that will lead Canada’s National Junior Team is second to none, and we know this group will do everything it can to help our team be successful in Ottawa in December and January,” Anholt said. “I know all members of our staffs are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a special event in Canada, and we look forward to building a roster that wears the Maple Leaf with pride on and off the ice as Canadians across the country cheer us on.”

Canada’s National Junior Team will gather at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, for a four-day training camp, July 28-31, which includes practices, a Red-White game on July 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT and a game against Sweden on July 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Tickets for the games in Windsor can be purchased at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets starting July 5, and are available for $30 plus fees per game or $45 plus fees for a two-game package. 

The team will also travel to Plymouth, Michigan, to participate in the World Junior Summer Showcase, Aug. 1-3; it will take on Finland on Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT and the United States on Aug. 3 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.

For more information on Hockey Canada, Canada’s National Junior Team and the 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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Canadian duo gets called to the Hall

Shea Weber and Colin Campbell part of Class of 2024 for Hockey Hall of Fame

Jason La Rose
|
June 26, 2024

When the Class of 2024 goes into the Hockey Hall of Fame this fall, there will be a little bit of Canadian content.

Of the seven names announced Tuesday, two have a distinct Canadian connection – Shea Weber will be enshrined in the player category, while Colin Campbell will go in as a builder.

A closer look at the inductees…

Shea Weber is one of the most decorated defencemen in Team Canada history, winning a pair of Olympic gold medals, gold at the IIHF World Championship and gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship, along with a World Cup of Hockey title.

The Sicamous, B.C., product wore the Maple Leaf on six occasions, and only once – at the 2009 IIHF World Championship, when Canada finished with silver – did he not leave with the top prize.

Despite the silver medal, that 2009 Men’s Worlds was arguably his best international performance – he led all blue-liners in scoring with 12 points (4-8—12) in seven games, was named Best Defenceman and earned a place on the Media All-Star Team.

Weber was part of the ‘Dream Team’ at the 2005 World Juniors, winning gold, and followed that up with gold at the 2007 IIHF World Championship at the conclusion of his second NHL season. Three years later, he contributed six points (2-4—6) in seven games to help Canada to a home-ice Olympic gold in Vancouver, and added six more (3-3—6) in six games in 2014 for another Olympic gold.

The tournament in Sochi included Weber’s biggest Team Canada contribution; the game-winning goal in the third period of a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Latvia.

Outside of the international accomplishments, Weber was a three-time finalist for the Norris Trophy (2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14), a Mark Messier Leadership Award recipient (2015-16) and a six-time NHL All-Star who captained the Nashville Predators (2010-16) and Montreal Canadiens (2018-22).

Colin Campbell, who has served as senior executive vice-president of hockey operations with the National Hockey League since 1998, has spent five decades involved in the NHL as a player, coach and executive.

A veteran of 636 games as a player with Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Edmonton and Detroit, the Tillsonburg, Ontario, native also spent 12 seasons as a coach with the Red Wings and New York Rangers, helping the Rangers end a 54-year Stanley Cup drought as associate coach in 1994 before serving as head coach for the following three seasons.

For the last 26 years, Campbell has left his mark on hockey operations, officiating and central scouting with the NHL, helping shape the way the game is played today,

Weber and Campbell will officially be inducted on Nov. 11 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, joined by fellow inductees Natalie Darwitz, Pavel Datsyuk, David Poile, Jeremy Roenick and Krissy Wendell-Pohl.

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Susan Sloan wearing a shirt that says Volunteer in front of a balloon arch.

The gratitude for volunteering

After making the choice to begin volunteering to make friends in a new town, Susan Sloan can’t imagine what her life would be like without giving back to her community

Shannon Coulter
|
April 18, 2024

Susan Sloan can’t imagine her life without volunteering. In fact, she feels her life would be the complete opposite of what it is now if she hadn’t started donating her time.

Throughout her life, Sloan has had a variety of different jobs, from working in a bakery to an IT specialist and a fitness instructor at the YMCA. After moving to Orleans, Ontario—a community in the east end of Ottawa—in the early 2000s, Sloan took a one-year contact with Volunteer Canada that would change the course of her life.

“I thought since I’m working as their membership manager, I probably should know a little bit more about this volunteering thing,” she says. “But I had already decided that volunteering was the route that I wanted to take, really just to start making friends because I literally had none.”

Her first volunteer position was with Canadian Heritage to help with their Winter Lights Across Canada event. From there, she learned about Winterlude in Ottawa and decided to volunteer for it as well. By then she was on a roll, so she signed up to help with the Canada Day festivities.

“Those were my signature events—every year, with the exception of COVID, you would find me at all three of those events come hell or high water,” she says. “That was my core, and they are still my core to this day: 22 years later, I’m still volunteering with Canadian Heritage.”

Susan Sloan lies down in front to pose with a group of volunteers at a Canadian Heritage event in Ottawa

Interspersed between her three core events, Sloan got involved in “little adventures” to explore new volunteer experiences in areas she was interested in.

“I loved sports, so I would pretty much put myself into any event that needed volunteers,” she explains. “In Ottawa, it’s like a laundry list of opportunities; you could be busy every weekend starting on Thursday.”

She began with a volleyball tournament, then taught Zumba at Relay for Life. Soon her volunteer experiences began snowballing into more new opportunities in sports.

“Sports has always been my happy place,” she says. “Being in a small community and in Ottawa, once you are known and you’re affiliated with certain events, you start to get asked to work other events and help out.

“I’ve had some amazing opportunities that I would never have had anything to do with had I not been a volunteer.”

When Canada’s National Women’s Team came to Ottawa in 2021 for the Rivalry Series, Sloan volunteered to help with the Olympic jersey reveal and managed guests coming into the game.

“It was really delightful working with Hockey Canada,” she says. “I really appreciated and respected the respect that we received, and the gratefulness for just doing something that was so minor.”

Later this year, the 2025 IIHF World Junior Championship will be hosted in Ottawa. Through her connections gained from volunteering and her reputation in the community, Sloan was presented with a new opportunity: to become the volunteer co-chair for World Juniors. And coming from a family that loves hockey and watches the tournament every year, she agreed.

“The fact that I was asked to do [World Juniors] … they chose me. That was a choice and to be that choice is probably one of the most rewarding things in the world. And none of this would have happened had it not been for volunteering.”

Susan Sloan poses beside a Hockey Canada welcome sign

When the puck drops in December, Sloan is most excited for the tourists and guests to experience what Ottawa has to offer.

“It’s so amazing because as volunteers, you’re in the chaos of everything,” she says. “I love the diversity it brings to the city. It brings a certain energy that the only way you’re going to know what it’s like is if you’re there. It’s amazing to be a part of something.

“People are coming in from all over the world, and you get a chance to mingle with them. You get a chance to show up for your city.”

With her experience in so many volunteer positions, Sloan has a thorough understanding of the value every volunteer brings to the table.

“The synergy that’s created when you are with like-minded people is magical. You have volunteers who, without them, no event would happen,” she says. “IIHF wouldn’t run without their volunteers. Canada Day would not run without its volunteers.”

As her experience allowed her to help others begin their volunteer journeys, Sloan has seen people blossom in ways they never thought was possible. And for Sloan, there are no words to describe the gratitude she has for making the decision to begin volunteering 22 years ago.

“Everything that I am, everything that I will be, is because of volunteering,” she says. “There are not many things in our lives that we put this much effort into that the rewards are amplified upon receipt. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without volunteering.”

Interested in volunteering when the world comes back to Ottawa this winter? Registration for the TELUS World Juniors Volunteer Program is now open!

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Canada vs. Czechia

World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Czechia

Tuesday, January 2 | 8:30 a.m. ET | Gothenburg, Sweden | Quarterfinal

January 01, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. CZECHIA (JAN. 2)

Canada’s National Junior Team looks to start 2024 off on the right note when it takes on Czechia in a quarterfinal matchup Tuesday at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Last Game 

Canada doubled up Germany 6-3 to close out the preliminary round on Sunday, scoring three unanswered goals in the third period to break open a close game. Macklin Celebrini scored twice, and Owen Beck, Easton Cowan, Jordan Dumais and Brayden Yager chipped in with a goal apiece to help Canada clinch second place in Group A and end 2023 on a high note.

Czechia took down Switzerland 4-2 in its preliminary-round finale Sunday, wrapping up third place in Group B. Juri Kulich, Matyas Melovsky and Ondrej Becher had two points apiece, while Michael Hrabal stopped 17 of 19 shots in the win.

 
Last Meeting 

Canada took home the gold medal at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, downing Czechia 3-2 in overtime in an absolute thriller in Halifax. After the Canadians took a two-goal lead into the third period, Czechia scored twice in 54 seconds to tie the game and force an extra frame. Dylan Guenther was the hero for Canada, finishing a give-and-go with Joshua Roy for the golden goal 6:22 into the overtime.

What to Watch 

Macklin Celebrini. He’s been the talk of the town, and rightfully so. The 17-year-old continues to show his offensive prowess and why he’s so important to Canada. In all three preliminary-round wins for the Canadians, Celebrini found the scoresheet. He finished the preliminary round tied with American Gavin Brindley for second in tournament scoring with eight points, just one behind Slovakia’s Servac Petrovsky. Furthermore, the Vancouver native has seen his ice time increase and has moved up to the top line — in Canada’s win over Germany, Celebrini had 19:27 of ice time, the most for him so far this tournament, and ended the game with two goals and eight shots.

Jiri Kulich, Matyas Melovsky and Eduard Sale have powered the Czechs to the quarterfinals — Kulich (4-3—7) and Melovsky (0-7—7) finished the prelims with seven points apiece, while Sale (3-2—5) finished with five. While this may not be the same Czech team that Canada faced in the gold medal game a year ago, there are nearly a dozen returnees. The Czechs also have 11 players, currently playing in the CHL, including Adam Zidlicky (Mississauga, OHL), who is the son of former NHLer Marek Zidlicky. On a side note: Kulich is playing in his third World Juniors and set the Czech record for career goals (13) in the post-Czechoslovakia era on Sunday.

A Look Back 

Since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, Canada and Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic) have faced each other 24 times at the World Juniors, with the Canadians claiming victory in 21 of those meetings.

This will be the third time the teams have met in the quarterfinals; Julien Gauthier scored twice in the third period as Canada pulled away for a 5-3 win in 2017, and Devon Levi posted a 29-save shutout in a 3-0 win inside the Edmonton bubble in 2021.

All-time record: Canada leads 21-2-2 (1-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 118
Czechia goals: 45

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From disappointment to dream

Released from Canada’s National Junior Team one year ago, Jordan Dumais used the experience to dominate the QMJHL and wear the Maple Leaf in Sweden

Nicholas Pescod
|
December 31, 2023

Jordan Dumais remembers how he felt when learned he wouldn’t be suiting up for Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

“It was hard. I was very disappointed,” recalls Dumais. 

A star forward with the Halifax Mooseheads, Dumais, then 18, was among the 28 players invited to the National Junior Team selection camp in Moncton, with the opportunity to play in front of familiar fans in Halifax.

Coming into camp, Dumais was the leading scorer in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with 54 points in 25 games, and second only to Connor Bedard for most points in the entire Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

“I knew I was a younger guy. I knew my odds of making it were tough, but I thought I played pretty well at the camp,” says Dumais, who had a goal and an assist in one of the camp games against a team of U SPORTS all-stars.

Still, it wasn’t enough and Dumais was among five forwards sent home at the camp’s conclusion. 

“I went to the camp and did what I had to do, and it didn’t go my way,” says Dumais.

Fast-forward a year and things have very much gone the Montreal native’s way. He was once again invited to selection camp and instead of being sent home, he finds himself wearing the Maple Leaf in Sweden as a member of Canada’s National Junior Team.

“I came in this year with a bit of experience and played my game and it went my way this year,” says Dumais. “As a kid, it’s your dream. Honestly, just wearing the Canada logo every game is unbelievable.” 

Fueling a fire 

Dumais was tearing it up in the QMJHL well before he was released from Team Canada, but he took it to a whole new level when he returned to the Mooseheads after camp, and ended up having a historic season.

He put up points in his first eight games back, and was held off the scoresheet only six times in 40 games. His run included seven points (4-3—7) against Moncton on Feb. 19, and had six (2-4—6) on March 22 against Charlottetown.

In just 40 games after coming back from camp, Dumais recorded 86 points — he had 31 in the month of March alone — and finished the season with 140 points (54-86—140), breaking the Mooseheads’ single-season scoring record of 137. 

He took home a couple of big postseason honours, winning the Jean Beliveau Trophy as QMJHL leading scorer and the Michel Brière Trophy as QMJHL MVP. He was also named to the first all-star team in both the QMJHL and CHL.

Mooseheads and Team Canada teammate Jake Furlong says there was a change in Dumais after he came back from camp. 

“Especially after Christmas, I think he just had a little more motivation and little more grind. He wanted to prove people wrong, but also the people that believe in him right,” says Furlong, who has been teammates with Dumais in Halifax for four seasons. “He stayed the same off the ice and didn’t really change his demeanor, but on the ice, he really worked his butt off, and I think that showed in the second half.” 

Furlong also believes the fact the World Juniors took place in Halifax only added more fuel to the fire. 

“I think that probably played a factor into it. I mean, being from there and being with the Mooseheads and seeing the fans we get every night, World Juniors was a whole different level, and I am sure he wanted to make Mooseheads fans proud,” he says. 

Dumais admits not making Team Canada only motivated him to take his game to another level.

“Obviously, I wasn’t happy about not making it last year, but I did use it as motivation to get back this year.” 

Silencing critics

At just 5-foot-9, Dumais, a third-round pick (96th overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2022 NHL Draft, has had to deal with those who have questioned his size and whether he could even play at a high level throughout his entire hockey career.

“I think I have been [doubted] my whole life. So, at this point, I do play my game and have always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I don’t think too much about it, but it is always there.” 

During the offseason, Dumais spent a considerable amount of time working on improving various areas of his game, whether it was becoming a better skater or spending time in the gym.

“I am always trying to work on my game where I can. I am aware of my flaws. I am smaller than the other guys, but I don’t really think too much about it. During the summer, I am always working on those things and trying to improve and get better.” 

Mooseheads head coach Jim Midgley says it was clear from the beginning of the year that Dumais wanted to make Canada’s National Junior Team, adding that the 19-year-old is an extremely competitive and driven individual who wants to win and be the best all the time. 

“Every drill we do in practice, he wants to be the best. He wants to win, he wants to be the fastest, he wants to be the best. He has a high battle level, but that is what I think makes Jordan special. He’s not the biggest guy, but for a smaller guy he has a lot of fight in him.”

That hard work and burning desire to be the best has paid off for Dumais, who came to selection camp with 47 points (16-31—47) in just 21 games with the Mooseheads. He sits five points behind QMJHL scoring leader Mathieu Cataford, despite having played 13 games less than Cataford and having not played for the Mooseheads since Dec. 8.

For the next week, the focus remains on Team Canada and the World Juniors, alongside Mooseheads teammates Furlong and Mathis Rousseau. It’s something Dumais says he’ll treasure for the rest of his life.

“It’s a great group of guys here. We have really good atmosphere in the room, you know, at the hotel, wherever we are, so that's been a lot of fun,” he says. “It’s a dream come true.”

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World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Germany

Friday, December 31 | 1:30 p.m. ET | Gothenburg, Sweden | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
|
December 30, 2023

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. GERMANY (DEC. 31)

Canada’s National Junior Team looks to rebound when it takes on Germany in its final preliminary-round game on New Year’s Eve at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Last Game 

Canada suffered its first loss of the tournament Friday when it fell 2-0 to Sweden in front of a capacity crowd that included more than 3,500 Canadian fans. Mathis Rousseau finished with 22 saves, including a couple of highlight-reel stops, and Macklin Celebrini had four shots on goal, but it wasn’t enough.

GER-LAT

Last Meeting 

You don’t have to look too far back in the pages of history. The last time these two played was just over a year ago in prelim play at the 2023 World Juniors in Halifax. Connor Bedard tied a Canadian record with seven points (3-4—7) and Dylan Guenther also recorded a hat trick in an 11-2 Canadian win.

What to Watch 

How about Mathis Rousseau? The 19-year-old undrafted Halifax Mooseheads netminder has put on a clinic. His massive save late in the first period against the Finns on Boxing Day ultimately led to a Canadian goal minutes. Against Sweden, Rousseau made a terrific skate-blade save that got the approval of The King himself, Henrik Lundqvist. He is currently second among goaltenders in goals-against average (1.33) and save percentage (.944).

The Germans don’t have an overly deep lineup, but they do have 19-year-old NHL prospect Julian Lutz (Arizona, 2022, 43rd overall), who has 23 points (10-13—23) in 19 games with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. They also have two players who skate in the QMJHL — 18-year-olds Julius Stumpf (Moncton Wildcats) and Norwin Panocha (Chicoutimi Saguenéens). Stumpf has 28 points in 30 games with the Wildcats, while Panocha (Buffalo, 2023,205th overall) has 11 points with Chicoutimi.

A Look Back 

When it comes to head-to-head history, Canada has won all 16 meetings since Germany’s reunification in 1991. If you go one step further and throw in games against West Germany from 1977-89, Canada boasts an impressive record of 26 wins from 27 meetings. Canada’s only blip was a 7-6 loss in the consolation round in 1981. The good news from that defeat? It indirectly contributed to the establishment of the Program of Excellence the following year.

All-time record: Canada leads 16-0-0
Canada goals: 101
Germany goals: 23

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World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Sweden

Friday, December 29 | 1:30 p.m. ET | Gothenburg, Sweden | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
|
December 29, 2023

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. SWEDEN (DEC. 29)

Canada’s National Junior Team looks to continue its winning ways when it faces off against host Sweden in a showdown of unbeaten teams atop Group A at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Last Game 

Canada blanked Latvia 10-0 on Tuesday to make it two wins in two days. Macklin Celebrini led the way with a goal and four assists, posting the 32nd five-point game in Canadian World Juniors history. Conor Geekie and Carson Rehkopf added two goals apiece and Mathis Rousseau made 22 saves to record the shutout.

For the Swedes, Otto Stenberg recorded a hat trick in a 5-0 victory over Germany on Thursday as the hosts improved to 2-0 in preliminary-round play and kept pace with Canada atop Group A. Mattias Havelid added a goal and an assist, and Melker Thelin needed to make just 15 saves for the shutout.

Last Meeting 

Canada came away with a 5-1 preliminary-round win over Sweden on New Year’s Eve in Halifax at the 2023 World Juniors. Brennan Othmann scored twice, Connor Bedard had four assists and Thomas Milic made 22 saves as Canada opened up a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes to wrap up second place in Group A.

What to Watch 

Macklin Celebrini. Who else? The 17-year-old Vancouver native was the star of the show in the win over Latvia, scoring a goal and adding four assists to take over the tournament scoring lead through two days (2-4—6). Celebrini has been simply dominant in the Maple Leaf; in his last eight games representing his country, dating back to the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship in the spring, he has posted 21 points (8-13—21).

Sweden’s lineup is deep, featuring 18 NHL prospects, including nine taken in the first round of the last two drafts — Filip Bystedt (San Jose, 27th, 2022), David Edstrom (Vegas, 32nd, 2023), Jonathan Lekkerimäki (Vancouver, 15th, 2022), Theo Lindstein (St. Louis, 29th, 2023), Liam Öhgren (2022, 19th, Minnesota), Noah Östlund (2022, 16th, Buffalo), Axel Sandin Pellikka (Detroit, 17th, 2023), Stenberg (St. Louis, 25th, 2023) and Tom Willander (Vancouver, 11th, 2023).

A Look Back 

There is a long and deep history between Canada and Sweden that stretches all the way back to the inaugural World Juniors in 1977. In36 all-time meetings, Canada has been largely victorious, winning 25 games, which includes four for the gold medal – 1996, 2008, 2009 and 2018.

This will be just the fifth time the Canadians and Swedes have faced off in Sweden and the first since 2006 – Canada won that game 2-0 thanks to goals from Luc Bourdon and Brad Marchand. Canada holds a record of 3-1 when playing the Swedes on their ice.

All-time record: Canada leads 25-10-1 (2-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 160
Sweden goals: 112

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Canada’s Owen Allard at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Never give up

Owen Allard wasn’t expected to make Canada’s National Junior Team, but hard work and dedication have brought him to Gothenburg for a chance to wear the Maple Leaf

Jonathan Yue
|
December 26, 2023

A look at Owen Allard’s hockey career so far reveals a résumé one might not expect to see from a member of Canada’s National Junior Team.

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward was a seventh-round pick in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection and has been passed over in consecutive NHL drafts. But that hasn’t stopped the Renfrew, Ontario, native from putting in the work and earning a spot on the Canadian roster at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“I laid it all on the line,” Allard says. “I thought I had a strong performance at [selection]camp, I did my thing and I had no regrets. I dreamed of playing at the World Juniors as a kid, so it’s a really special moment for myself, and my family and friends.”

Allard joins an select group of skaters (forwards and defencemen) to make Canada’s National Junior Team after going undrafted in back-to-back drafts, joining the likes of longtime NHLers Bob Bassen (1985) and Mike Keane (1987), Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mark Recchi (1988) and the most recent player to add his name to the list, Brett Leason (2019).

(Leason ended up being the 56th overall pick by Washington in his third draft and is a constant presence in the Anaheim Ducks lineup this season.)

“It has been a crazy path,” Allard says. “I was a late-round draft pick in the OHL and really wasn't supposed to make the Soo Greyhounds as a 17-year-old. But, I went in there, did my thing and made the team. I think it is the same thing here. I wasn't really supposed to be invited, I mean I am undrafted in the NHL and I only played 14 games last season.”

That’s right… Allard forced his way into the Team Canada conversation despite playing only 14 games after suffering a torn labrum ahead of the 2022-23 season that required shoulder surgery. The recovery time meant Allard didn’t make his season debut until Feb. 23 and once again put his resilience, mentally and physically, to the test.

“I definitely put in the work to be here and to have an opportunity to be on this team,” Allard says. “[Before the injury], I thought I was going to have a big year, especially being passed over in the draft, but that goal collapsed after the injury and a lot of doubt went through my mind. I stayed positive and stuck with it, did the rehab and worked extremely hard to get back onto the ice. Everything happens for a reason, so everything happened last season so I can be here right now.”

Improving himself

While he may be representing his country for the first time, this won’t be Allard’s first experience on international ice. During the 2020-21 season that was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Allard crossed the pond to France, where his brother Sutton was getting into a few games in the Ligue Magnus, the country’s top league. Allard skated with the U17 and U20 teams with the Caen Drakkars recording 15 points in eight games.

“It was super beneficial for my development during those lockdown years,” Allard recalls. “I was still getting better, getting the reps, and being able to play on the bigger ice unlocked some new skills that I took back to make the Soo Greyhounds as an unexpected player at the following camp.”

As for advice from his journey so far? To never give up, something Allard lives by. At every stage of his career, he knew he could have hung up the skates and pursued something else, but he made sure to keep going.

“I’ve defied all odds and stuck with it,” Allard says. “It could have been really easy for me to quit hockey or even just not played, but I say just never give up and trust your abilities. You can always get better, just put the work in.”

Kyle Nishizaki has been Allard’s skills coach for the last 10 years in Ottawa, and knows first hand how much work he has put in during that time. Nishizaki says he is excited to see Allard get the opportunity to show what kind of person and player he is on the world stage.

“His energy is infectious,” Nishizaki says. “You see him on the ice and the work ethic that’s driven him and allowed him to make this team, but it’s the energy, his love for hockey, his teammates. He pushes everyone around him to be better.

As Allard hits the ice with Canada’s National Junior Team, his hard work so far has paid off, but there’s much more work to be done. The goal in Sweden is to make sure he makes the most of this experience and see what’s next for him in his hockey journey.

“It’s been rewarding,” Allard says. “For all the hard work I’ve put in, the sacrifice my family has made for me, it feels really good, and I think [Hockey Canada] saw something in my game that they needed in this tournament. Only a select few get to wear the Maple Leaf, so its a crazy feeling and I am going to do everything I can to help this team win."

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World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. Finland

Tuesday, December 26 | 8:30 a.m. ET | Gothenburg, Sweden | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
|
December 25, 2023

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. FINLAND (DEC. 26)

Here we go. Canada’s National Junior Team kicks off its quest for a third-straight gold medal and 21st overall at the IIHF World Junior Championship with a Boxing Day matchup against Finland.

Last Game 

Canada is coming off an 6-5 pre-tournament overtime loss to the United States on Saturday in game that saw it erase a two-goal deficit in the third period. Macklin Celebrini scored twice and Owen Allard tied it midway through the final frame, while newcomer Jorian Donovan picked up an assist in his first game since joining Team Canada.

Finland is entering the World Juniors on a winning note after downing Czechia 4-1 on Thursday to finish off a perfect pre-tournament. Rasmus Kumpulainen, Arttu Kärki, Emil Hemming and Jani Nyman provided the offence for the Finns, who scored nine goals in their two exhibition contests.

Last Meeting 

Canada’s last meeting against the Finns was a pre-tournament game last year in Halifax. Connor Bedard scored twice, including the game-winner, and Brennan Othmann had a goal and assist, helping Canada to a 5-3 win.

The last time these two teams met during tournament play, however, was the gold medal game in August 2022. Canada won 3-2 in an overtime thriller that saw Kent Johnson score shortly after Mason McTavish saved the Canadians by swatting the puck out of mid-air before it crossed the goal line.


What to Watch
 

Macklin Celebrini, and rightfully so. The 17-year-old Vancouver native continues to be a threat every time he is on the ice. How good has he been? In three pre-tournament games, Celebrini put seven points (3-4—7), the most of any player. And let’s not forget the new guys. With Tristan Luneau and Tanner Molendyk ruled out, Donovan and Ty Nelson were officially added to the Canadian roster following the game against the Americans.

The Finns may not have Nashville Predators prospect Joakim Kemell available for his third World Juniors, but 11 players on the roster are NHL draftees. That number includes Seattle Kraken prospect Jani Nyman – the 19-year-old has netted 14 goals in 28 games for Ilves Tampere in the Liiga, Finland's top league, good for second among all active skaters.

A Look Back 

The Canadians and Finns have been frequent foes, facing off against each other 42 times at the World Juniors since 1977. Canada has the edge with a 27-9-6 (W-L-T) mark, but it has had trouble with Finland on Swedish ice – one-third of the Finns’ wins have come in the land of their Nordic neighbours.

The Canadians have won five of the last six meetings, including a 5-0 romp in the semifinals in 2020; Joel Hofer made 32 saves for the shutout, Alexis Lafrenière scored twice and Canada netted three goals in the first four minutes en route to the gold medal game and an eventual 18th World Juniors gold.

All-time record: Canada leads 26-9-6 (1-1 in OT)
Canada goals: 163
Finland goals: 105

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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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