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The World of Hockey According to Bobby Orr

Lucas Aykroyd
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WJC045.05
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December 30, 2005

When you survey hockey history, few players can rival Wayne Gretzky as the best of all time. But Bobby Orr is one of them, and while Gretzky has been preoccupied recently with coaching the Phoenix Coyotes and picking the Olympic team, as well as family matters, the legendary former Boston Bruins defenceman is here in Vancouver on business as a player agent.

“I’m here to see some of my agency’s clients [including Canada’s Steve Downie and Marc Staal and the USA’s Jack Skille], and some of the best 18-, 19-, and in some cases 17-year-old players in the world,” Orr told HockeyCanada.ca in a rinkside interview at the Pacific Coliseum. “These kids are the future of the NHL and it’s nice to see them.”

Which teams, in this Hall of Famer’s mind, are among the tournament favourites?

“The US is pretty good, but in a short tournament like this, who knows? The Slovakians are pretty good. Canada, they’re kind of the underdogs, but again, who knows? If you get a hot goalie, and their goalie’s been playing very, very well, anything can happen in a short series like this. But the US certainly is a very strong team.”

Recently, there’s been a great deal of focus on officiating, both at the World Juniors and at the NHL level. Like many longtime hockey observers, Orr has mixed feelings about the obstruction crackdown, although he enjoys some of the rule changes that have opened up the game.

“I like the rules, but in my mind, there are too many games being decided by a very weak hooking penalty!” said Orr. “I like the rules, and I like the [removal of] the center line. I know we had to crack down on obstruction, and I think there are major obstruction penalties that should be called. But we’re looking at power plays, power plays, power plays every game, lots of 5-on-3s. I like the game and I like what they’ve done, so I don’t want to be real negative. I just think we’ve got to let the referees use their judgment. There are times now where players are dropping their arms and holding on to the stick and it’s called hooking. To me, that’s not a hook. It’s players that aren’t involved in the play and so forth. But overall, I think the rule changes have been wonderful.”

Orr, in the wide-open NHL of the 1970’s, would almost certainly have flourished with the removal of the red line. Even under the former rules, he scored 100-plus points six seasons in a row between 19. But Parry Sound’s most famous son figures that with the state of coaching today, it’s tougher to complete those long-bomb passes than it would have been in the 70’s or 80’s.

“It’s surprising, but I think most of the breakaways have been from guys coming out of the penalty box. We do see that long pass sometimes, but teams are defending against it now. Guys are coaching at this level because they’re good. So they figure things out pretty quickly.”

The winner of eight Norris Trophies, three Hart Trophies, and two Conn Smythe Trophies, the 57-year-old Orr can only marvel at the combination of size, strength, speed and skill that today’s junior players bring. Most players on this year’s Team Canada are around six feet and 200 pounds, and would have dwarfed NHLers of decades past.

“I played at 185 pounds, and I was a good-sized player back then,” said Orr. “Of course, every team had one big guy, like a Moose Vasko. But now, these players are all so big. Back then, the big guys weren’t that mobile, not necessarily great skaters, and they couldn’t catch you. Today, they’re all big and they can catch you! It’s amazing, the size of the kids. They’re mobile and fantastic skaters.”

Orr got his first exposure to international hockey when he was added, along with other OHL all-stars, to the Toronto Marlboros’ roster for a exhibition game against the Russian national team.

“I have a photo with us with the Toronto Marlboros sweaters, and people can’t figure out why I have a Marlboro sweater on!” Orr said with a laugh.

Due to circumstances, Orr didn’t get many other chances to suit up against Russia, Canada’s greatest rival in those days. He was nursing a knee injury when the 1972 Summit Series took place, and could only accompany the team to Moscow as an observer as the Canadians won three straight games to triumph on the strength of Paul Henderson’s last-minute tally against Vladislav Tretiak.

“If you go back, it was unbelievable for a team going over there. And in those days, the conditions were much different than they are today. Having to win three of four over [in Moscow] is one of the great things ever accomplished in sports. The conditions were so difficult, and for that team to do what they did was unbelievable.”

Orr was part of Canada’s entry in the 1976 Canada Cup, however, and was named tournament MVP, racking up nine points despite basically playing on one knee. He recently checked out the new DVD set from Video Service Corp./Music Video Distributors featuring six games from that competition.

“It was really my last hockey. It was a great memory for me. If you look at that defence, we had Lapointe, Savard, Robinson, Potvin, a pretty good defence! [laughs] And me, I was a throw-in! I think if you look at it, we were all mobile, we could all move the puck, we could all skate, and we were all tough enough.”

Orr wouldn’t be surprised if the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy provide the best international hockey ever.

“I think it’s going to be wonderful. There’ll be a lot of good teams over there. If you go back to the junior teams, even, if you look at the Slovakian team, most of the players are Canadian Hockey League players who play over here. They’re not going to be intimidated by anything. They’re experienced in Canadian hockey. The Olympics will be great. Canada? It’ll have a pretty good team! Everyone’s never going to be happy with the players selected. Everyone has their own opinion and that’s the way it is. Wayne [Gretzky] has put together what he thinks is the best possible team to win. And hey, he’s the man. He does a great job. They’ve worked hard at it. They haven’t taken it lightly, and they’ll be very, very good.”

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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World Juniors Preview: Canada vs. United States

Saturday, December 23 | 12 p.m. ET | Kungsbacka, Sweden | Pre-Tournament

Nicholas Pescod
|
December 23, 2023

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. UNITED STATES (DEC. 23)

Canada’s National Junior Team wraps up its pre-tournament schedule Saturday against the United States in the final tune-up ahead of the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

Last Game
 

Canada is coming off a 6-3 pre-tournament win over Switzerland on Friday. Owen Beck scored twice, one of them shorthanded, Conor Geekie chipped in with a goal and a helper while Macklin Celebrini had two assists for the Canadians, who broke open a tie game with four unanswered goals in the second period before being ejected after he was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding. 

The United States’ last game saw it score five in a row to down Sweden 5-3 in pre-tournament action Thursday. Jimmy Snuggerud, Will Smith and Cutter Gauthier had three points each in the victory, while Trey Augustine stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced. 

Last Meeting 

The last time these two teams met, Canada booked its ticket to the gold medal game at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, scoring six unanswered goals to down the United States 6-2. Joshua Roy had a two-goal night, Connor Bedard, Logan Stankoven, Adam Fantilli and Brandt Clarke each had a goal and an assist, and Thomas Milic put on a clinic in a 43-save effort. 


What to Watch
 

As the lone returnee from the team that won gold a year ago in the Maritimes, there are plenty of eyes on Owen Beck. But the Peterborough Petes sniper doesn’t appear to mind the attention; he was all over the ice against the Swiss, giving Canada the lead for good early in the second period before adding a highlight-reel shorthanded marker late in the middle frame. Beck has been terrific for the defending OHL champions, posting 16 goals and 30 points in 25 games.

The United States is a deep team and considered a perennial favourite for a few reasons. First, the U.S. has 10 first-round NHL draft picks, a list that includes the fourth overall pick in 2023 (Will Smith, San Jose) and fifth overall pick in 2022 (Cutter Gauthier, Philadelphia). Second, they’ve got Trey Augustine between the pipes. The 18-year-old Detroit Red Wings prospect is 11-3-2 with a .912 save percentage at Michigan State University this season. Third, the Americans are very familiar with each other — eight players are returnees from the team that won bronze in Halifax. 

A Look Back 

While Canada historically has had the upper hand against the United States, winning 34 of 49 meetings with three ties, things have been more even of late. The Canadians have split the last 10 meetings with the U.S. dating back to 2012.

Prior to the semifinal win last year, Canada’s previous victory over the Americans came in the 2020 World Juniors opener, when Alexis Lafrenière scored a late game-winner and added three assists in a 6-4 Boxing Day win

All-time record: Canada leads 34-12-3 (3-3 in OT/SO) 
Canada goals: 200 
United States goals: 136 

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Roster named for 2024 junior team

National Junior Team roster announced for 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship

Team Canada heads to Malmo, Sweden for final pre-tournament preparations

NR.095.23
|
December 13, 2023

OAKVILLE, Ontario - Hockey Canada has announced the 22 players selected to wear the Maple Leaf with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The roster – including three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 12 forwards – was chosen following a four-day selection camp at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville that included a pair of games against a team of U SPORTS all-stars.

The 22 players include representation from seven Members and one returnee – Owen Beck – who helped Canada win a 20th World Juniors gold last year in Halifax.

“This was a tremendously competitive camp that showed once again the depth of talent that exists across the country,” said Peter Anholt (Naicam, SK/Lethbridge, WHL), the under-20 lead for the Program of Excellence management group. “With so many talented players, difficult decisions had to be made, but the management, coaching and scouting staffs believe the team we have assembled will give us the best chance to compete for a gold medal in Sweden. We are excited to travel to Europe and are grateful to the Town of Oakville and the fans for being part of our journey.”

Canada will open its pre-tournament schedule against a U25 team from Denmark on Dec. 19 before facing Switzerland on Dec. 22 and the United States on Dec. 23.

The 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship begins on Boxing Day when Canada takes on Finland at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT. In addition to broadcasting Canada’s pre-tournament games against Switzerland and the U.S., TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will provide extensive coverage of the event, broadcasting all 29 tournament games. TSN Radio will also provide comprehensive tournament coverage.

2025 World Juniors Priority Ticket Draw opens Thursday

The IIHF World Junior Championship returns to Canada next year when Ottawa plays host from Dec. 26, 2024 to Jan. 5, 2025. Demand for tickets will exceed availability and ticket packages are expected to sell out. Starting tomorrow, fans have an opportunity to purchase tickets by entering the 2025 World Juniors Priority Ticket Draw.  

For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on FacebookX and Instagram.

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Thirty players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp

World Juniors hopefuls to face U SPORTS all-stars in camp

NR.090.23
|
December 05, 2023

CALGARY, Alberta – With less than a month to go before the puck drops on the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, Hockey Canada has announced the 30 players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, Dec. 10-13 in Oakville, Ontario.

The roster selection was led by Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of high performance and hockey operations, and Peter Anholt (Naicam, SK/Lethbridge, WHL), the under-20 lead for the Program of Excellence management group, in consultation with Brent Seabrook (Tsawwassen, BC). Head coach Alan Letang (Renfrew, ON/Sarnia, OHL), assistant coaches Gilles Bouchard (Normandin, QC/Sherbrooke, QMJHL)Shaun Clouston (Viking, AB/Kamloops, WHL) and Scott Walker (Cambridge, ON/Guelph, OHL), as well as goaltending consultant Justin Pogge (Penticton, BC), also provided input, along with coaches and general managers across the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

The 30 players, including four goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 16 forwards, will compete for a chance to wear the Maple Leaf at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

 “We are excited to name the 30 players who will embark on the journey through camp and eventually on to the World Juniors,” said Anholt. “Canada has an incredible talent pool of players, and there are always difficult decisions to narrow it down. We are expecting a highly competitive camp, and we look forward to naming our final roster that will wear the Maple Leaf with pride starting on Boxing Day.”

Selection camp will take place at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex and will include practices and a pair of games against a team of U SPORTS all-stars, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. ET/noon PT and Dec. 13 at noon ET/9 a.m. PT. Tickets for the games will be available for purchase starting Dec. 6 at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets. Individual game tickets are $25, or a two-game package is available for $40, plus applicable fees. Fans can also livestream both games at HockeyCanada.ca.  

“We are grateful to the Town of Oakville for hosting us and assisting us in our preparations for the World Juniors and we are excited to give fans the opportunity to see the best under-20 players in Canada,” said Salmond. “This camp, including the two games against U SPORTS, will give us the best chance to assemble the top players to represent our country on the world stage. As part of our preparations, we remain in communication with NHL teams with the potential of teams releasing players who are eligible to represent Canada, which we anticipate updating during camp.”

Canada’s National Junior Team will travel to Malmo, Sweden on Dec. 14 for a pre-tournament camp ahead of the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. As part of its preparations, Canada will open its pre-tournament schedule against a U25 team from Denmark on Dec. 19 before facing Switzerland on Dec. 22 and the United States on Dec. 23.

The 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship begins on Boxing Day when Canada takes on Finland at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT. In addition to broadcasting Canada’s pre-tournament games against Switzerland and the U.S., TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will provide extensive coverage of the event, broadcasting all 31 tournament games. TSN Radio will also provide comprehensive tournament coverage.

The IIHF World Junior Championship returns to Canada next year when Ottawa plays host from Dec. 26, 2024 to Jan. 5, 2025. Demand for tickets will exceed availability and ticket packages are expected to sell out. To have an opportunity to purchase tickets, fans can enter the 2025 World Juniors Priority Ticket Draw starting Dec. 14.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on FacebookX and Instagram.

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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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Date: Aug 3 to 10