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Miles from Mistissini

Israel Mianscum left home to chase his hockey dreams at a very young age, leaning on his family and his heritage to see him through

Paul Edmonds
November 02, 2019

Imagine you’re 11 years old. It’s autumn in a northern First Nations community in Quebec, the weather is turning crisp and your hockey talent has already outgrown the surrounding area.

When most kids were trying to figure out a costume for Halloween, Israel Mianscum was trying to navigate through a new way of life, 147 kilometres from home without family or friends and playing hockey in a league with kids a year older.

Understandably, it wasn’t easy. Avoiding homesickness was impossible, but his mother made a deal – one she honoured faithfully; the family would drive nearly two hours every weekend from its home in Mistissini, a Cree community of around 4,000 people, to culturally identical Ouje-Bougoumou to visit him weekly in the pursuit of his hockey dreams.

If the move wasn’t difficult enough to start, it was further complicated by the loss of two family members – a grandfather and an uncle that same October. At that point just barely into the transition, it could have been easy to acquiesce and return home.

But the touchstone of daily phone calls and frequent visits from family eased the change and five years later there are few shoulder checks.

“He struggled to stay put at first,” says Tiffany Neeposh, Mianscum’s mom. “We knew he really wanted to play hockey and I knew he would be more broken if he came home.

“We did everything we could for him to stay there. He got used to it after a while. It was quite a year for him. He’s so much stronger today living without us.”

Of course, the longing for home didn’t just dissipate after one season. In fact, it took a few years to truly adjust.

What always eased the original move away from Mistissini was the comfort of being around other players that spoke Cree.

And in Quebec, where French is the dominant language and English a distant second, being able to speak your own tongue created cultural stability and a soothing environment for a wistful teenager.

However, at 14 and a few more moves down the hockey road, Mianscum suddenly found himself isolated and miles away from his upbringing as a member of the Citadelles de Rouyn-Noranda, a Midget Espoir team in western Quebec.

“That was a hard year for me,” he says. “I was alone. There was nobody to talk to me in my language. It was tougher for me than at 11.”

To cope, there was nothing else to do but pour his mind and body deeper into hockey and continue to develop. The results were impressive. He posted 29 goals and 56 points in 29 games to lead the league in scoring and earn MVP honours, despite being one of the youngest players.

“Looking back on what I did to leave to play hockey kind of amazes me now,” says the six-foot-one, 192-pound centre. “I’m proud of myself. I’m not homesick now.”

He graduated to the Forestiers de Amos of the Ligue de hockey midget AAA du Québec last season and had another stellar offensive campaign with 21 goals and 35 points in 36 games.

Those numbers and other assets eventually attracted the attention of the Sherbrooke Phoenix, who selected Mianscum with the 10th pick of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft last summer.

“The draft was exciting,” he says. “It was really fun. It was the best day of my life so far. That’s probably one of the best moments for my family. It makes all the sacrifices worth it.”

Mianscum started skating at the age of two. He was a natural, but the early beginning was aided by the annual construction of a backyard rink at home under the guidance and assembly of his mother and father, Louie.

His ability to propel himself around the ice so early in life certainly made it easy for his parents to realize he was special. And his mother knew it was inevitable that he was going to have to leave home in order to pursue his hockey dreams.

“From the very beginning he was very competitive,” says Neeposh, a hockey player herself. “We knew from there he was going to be different. He was so determined. He was always on the rink doing extra stuff like shooting pucks. He was always competing. Hockey is his passion.”

Now 16, Mianscum has found his way from small-town Quebec to the international stage as a member of Canada White at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

“Israel is a real interesting prospect,” says Brad McEwen, head scout with Hockey Canada. “He has a good skill-set plus size, which makes him a double threat. He can play a bigger game or can play a skill game to create offence.”

“It’s a dream come true for me to play for Team Canada,” says Mianscum. “To represent [my country] is an honour. I’m proud of myself and I know my community is too.”

As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, Mianscum looks to their Aboriginal goaltender Carey Price for inspiration. He admits to also following Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ethan Bear, too.

He hopes one day he’ll get even closer to realizing his goal of playing with or against either one of those players in the National Hockey League, thus becoming the first Quebec Cree player in the NHL.

“That’s everyone’s goal,” he says of the NHL. “It’s my goal too. That’s what I want to do. But there is so many things I need to improve on. I’ll take it day-by-day. I just need to make sure I play my game all the time.”

And it appears he’s right at home doing that.

Canada White atop podium at 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

United States takes silver medal, Sweden wins bronze

November 12, 2023

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island – For the first time since 2015, Canada White has won the gold medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, needing overtime to get past the United States 2-1 in the gold medal game Saturday night at a sold-out Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

Cameron Schmidt (Prince George, BC/Vancouver, WHL) was the overtime hero for the Canadians, chasing down a loose puck in the neutral zone and tucking a backhand around U.S. goaltender Patrick Quinlan 9:18 into the extra period.

“I kind of just blanked out, I just went to the backhand and it found its way in,” said Schmidt.Obviously this team was thrown together, but building that bond from the start and carrying it to the end of this tournament was a big thing. These are my brothers for life, and it was an amazing experience.”

Canada White took the early lead just 98 seconds into the game when Joby Baumuller (Wilcox, SK/Brandon, WHL) redirected a centring pass from Ethan Czata (Brampton, ON/Niagara, OHL) past Quinlan.

It remained a one-goal game until 9:49 of the third period when Charlie Trethewey pulled the Americans even on the power play. The cross-border rivals would trade chances, but the game would need overtime to decide a champion, setting up the Schmidt heroics.

“We really talked about wanting to get better every game,” said Canada White head coach John Dean (Don Mills, ON/Sault Ste. Marie, OHL). “I was very fortunate to experience a very difficult game at the [2023 IIHF U18 World Championship]. As coaches we’re learning as well and my first game in Switzerland we lost 8-1 and we ended up winning a bronze medal. I took some notes from the coach at the time, Jeff Truitt, on how to handle it and stay even keel and realize you don’t win a gold medal in the first game.

“The message to the rest of the group was we’re going to get better every single day. We went to overtime five times, only won one game in regulation; these guys went into the final game and had experienced everything – blowing leads, comebacks, shootouts, overtime wins, coaches being upset and being happy. They went through it all so I couldn’t ask for a better tournament because they got to experience it all and I think there’s a lot of growth here.”

Sweden earns bronze medal

In the bronze medal game on Saturday afternoon, Sweden used a three-goal second period to defeat Czechia 6-3.

Czechia held a slim one-goal advantage after the opening frame on a power-play goal from Tomas Poletin. A shorthanded tally by Milton Gästrin midway through the second period pulled the Swedes even. They would add two more before the period ended to lead 3-1.

The Czechs would add a pair of goals just over a minute apart, but a goal by Ivar Stenberg at 3:39 held up as the eventual game-winner.

Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced. 

Forward: Émile Guité (Chambly, QC/Chicoutimi, LHJMQ) - Canada White
Forward: Gavin McKenna (Whitehorse, YT/Medicine Hat, WHL) - Canada Red
Forward: Will Moore - United States
Defence: Matthew Schaefer (Stoney Creek, ON/Erie, OHL) - Canada White
Defence: Charlie Trethewey - United States
Goaltender: Jack Ivankovic (Mississauga, ON/Mississauga, OHL) - Canada White 

For more information on the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit or follow through social media on Facebook and X.

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“My superpower”

He may be hard of hearing, but William Lacelle hasn’t let that stop him from earning a spot between the pipes at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Nicholas Pescod
November 03, 2023

William Lacelle is not your ordinary goaltender.

That’s because the 15-year-old puck-stopper from Quebec has something many high-level athletes don’t.

“I call it my superpower,” Lacelle says.

What Lacelle is referring to is the fact he is hard of hearing — 100 per cent deaf in his left ear and 50 per cent in his right — and it has, in many ways, helped him become a standout goalie with the Lions du Lac St-Louis of the Ligue de développement du hockey des M18 du Québec.

“I use my hearing disability as a superpower. I use it to my advantage,” he says.

Lacelle, who was named the LDHM18AAAQ’s player of the year last season, and his superpower will be on display at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I., as a member of Team Canada Red.

“It's just an honour to be representing Canada … and representing Quebec,” says Lacelle, who won’t turn 16 until Boxing Day and is the youngest of the 44 players wearing the Maple Leaf, “It’s an amazing feeling.”


Born in Baie d'Urfé, Quebec, a community about 30 minutes west of Montreal, Lacelle has what is known as sensorineural hearing loss in both his ears — resulting in difficulties hearing, particularly in louder environments.

“It’s something I’ve had my whole life,” he says. “It is a big part of who I am as a person.”

Lacelle began figure skating at an early age but switched to hockey when he was about seven years old. He first started out playing defence but that didn’t last long.

“I was always blocking shots. My dad would say ‘Oh shoot, I think we have a goalie here,’ and that’s how I got into goaltending,” recalls Lacelle.

“He was absolutely passionate about being a goalie,” says his father, Stephen Lacelle. “I bought him some little street pads and I would practice shooting on him outside and he absolutely ate it up. He just loved it.”

A year later he was between the pipes full-time and it wasn’t long afterwards that it became clear to Stephen that his son was able to see the game differently from those around him.

“I would take him to hockey games and he would see things on the ice that I couldn't believe that young kid could pick up,” says Stephen. “After games as a very young goalie, he would tell me things about the particular number of a player like ‘Daddy, that is the kid with the green tape on the top hand stick.’ He would see things that like the other kids wouldn't see. It was just innate.”

“Don’t use it as a disability, use it as a superpower”

Lacelle is coming off arguably his best season ever, finishing with a record of 18-4 and posting a league-leading 1.55 goals-against average, helping the Lions reach the LDHM18AAAQ semifinals, where they fell to the eventual national champions from Séminaire Saint-François. He also backstopped Quebec to a bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games in February and was the first goaltender off the board at the 2023 QMJHL Draft, going 10th overall to the Rimouski Oceanic. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, he also received a $2,700 bursary this spring from the Montreal Canadiens for his athletic and academic success.

"It's astonishing it's how quickly it's come together for him,” says Stephen, “For a 15-year-old, it's really inspiring, and it has all just happened so fast. If you would have told me this would happen to him seven or eight years ago, I wouldn't have believed you."

But it hasn’t always been this easy for Lacelle, whose success on and off the ice is very much the result of hard work and getting those around him to understand his situation.

“Everyone understands my problem now and they have grown to accept it. But at first, they were annoyed because I would always say ‘what?’ because I would have to hear what they say twice. So, it was challenging not only for other people, but for myself,” he says.

“It has been challenging for him for sure, especially in school but there are a bunch of things we have done for him,” adds Stephen. “But he has been very well supported by a good network of professionals at a rehabilitation centre here in Montreal and his teachers and schools, both at the primary and secondary school level, have been fabulous.”

As Lacelle has grown older, he’s taken what many would consider a disadvantage and used it to his advantage.

“I will make a save and after the whistle guys on the other team might come by and say something mean to me, but I don’t hear it. I am just focused on the game and trying to win. It’s the little things, finding strategies.”

Among the strategies Lacelle relies on is increased communication with his teammates and coaches, whether it is verbally or through hand signals.

“I always double check with my coaches to make sure I hear stuff right. Let’s say he explains a game plan. I will go see him after just to make sure I heard exactly what he said or what is happening,” he says. “So, I really just make sure I double check with my teammates.”

“The coaches at all levels have been fantastic,” adds Stephen. “We would always tell his coaches at the start of the season that William was hard of hearing just so that they were sensitized to the situation. We didn't ask for any special treatment or anything. We just wanted them to know.”

Another strategy is lip reading, which is something that Lacelle can do in both English and French.

“I pretty much grew up bilingual and because of that I have been able to adapt to both French and English teams when I need to,” he says. “So, I read a lot of lips and I think that is an advantage.”

Still there are some challenges that are unique to Lacelle.

“It is a bit challenging when the rink is very loud, when there are a lot of noises and different sounds going on and that can affect my hearing because I won’t be able to hear some of teammates calls on the ice. But, that’s where lipreading comes in.”

When asked what his advice is to others young athletes who are hard of hearing, Lacelle says the biggest thing is to block out the noise.

“Ignore what people are saying negatively about you and keep moving forward,” he says. “I have had to face … people making fun of me but the best thing you can do is ignore it. Go on the ice and show what you can do. Don’t use it as a disability, use it as a superpower.”

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Canadian rosters named for 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Forty-four players named to Team Canada Red and Team Canada White

October 23, 2023

CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada has announced the 44 players who will compete with Team Canada Red and Team Canada White at the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Nov. 2-11 in Charlottetown and Summerside, PE.

The players chosen to represent their country were selected by Byron Bonora (Brooks, AB), U17 head scout, and Dave Brown (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON/Erie, OHL), U17 lead with the Program of Excellence management group, with assistance from regional scouts Rob Simpson (Ontario), Pierre Cholette (Quebec), Darren Sutherland (Atlantic) and Darrell Woodley (Ontario).

“This summer we took the first step in introducing 66 young athletes to our Program of Excellence, which included preparations for short-term international competition,” said Benoit Roy (Sudbury, ON), senior manager of hockey operations with Hockey Canada.“We are grateful for the commitment and input from our support staff to ensure our teams are ready for competition starting Nov. 2. We couldn’t be more excited for the 44 players we have selected to represent Canada at this prestigious tournament and believe they will give us the best chance to compete for a gold medal.”

Hockey Canada is also proud to recognize the teams’ support staff who will participate in this year’s tournament, with 10 individuals representing Team Canada Red and Team Canada White.

The Canadian squads are in action on opening day, Nov. 2. Canada White hosts Czechia at Credit Union Place in Summerside at 12 p.m. AT, followed by Canada Red facing Finland at 7 p.m. AT at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown. Red and White will meet in the lone all-Canadian matchup in the preliminary round on Nov. 3 in Summerside.

TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast the medal games; check local listings for details. Preliminary-round games, quarterfinals and semifinals will be available by livestream at

Fans eager to watch some of the best international players compete on Prince Edward Island can secure their seats now. Ticket packages start at $120; click here to purchase.

As a legacy of hosting the event, Charlottetown and Summerside will receive net proceeds from ticket sales to support grassroots hockey within the communities.

More than 2,000 NHL draft picks have suited up since the inception of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (previously known as the Quebec Esso Cup) in 1986, including 16 first-overall draft picks since 2001 (Ilya Kovalchuk, 2001; Rick Nash, 2002; Marc-André Fleury, 2003; Alexander Ovechkin, 2004; Erik Johnson, 2006; Patrick Kane, 2007; John Tavares, 2009; Taylor Hall, 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2011; Nathan MacKinnon, 2013; Aaron Ekblad, 2014; Connor McDavid, 2015; Auston Matthews, 2016; Jack Hughes, 2019; Alexis Lafrenière, 2020; Owen Power, 2021).

For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit, or follow along on FacebookX and Instagram.

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Coaches Named for 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

John Dean and Carl Mallette to lead the two Canadian squads.

October 06, 2023

CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada will work together with six Canadian Hockey League (CHL) coaches to guide Canada’s national under-17 teams at the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown and Summerside, PE next month.

John Dean (Don Mills, ON/Sault Ste Marie, OHL), and Carl Mallette (Montreal, QC/Victoriaville, QMJHL) will serve as head coaches of Team Canada White and Team Canada Red, respectively.

Joining Dean on the Canada White bench will be assistant coaches Eric Bouchard (Montreal, QC/Shawinigan, QMJHL) and Brennan Sonne (Maple Ridge, BC/Saskatoon, WHL).

Rounding out the Canada Red staff are assistant coaches Matt Anholt (Prince Albert, SK/Lethbridge, WHL) and Norm Milley (Toronto, ON/Ottawa, OHL).

“The under-17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, and we are excited to welcome coaches from across the CHL to help introduce the country’s top young players to our program,” said Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of hockey operations. “All of these coaches bring a unique skill set, combining playing and international and junior hockey experience, and we look forward to the coaching staff helping deliver a world-class event for all participants.”

Dean has been head coach of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for the last five seasons (2018-23). Prior to joining the Greyhounds, he spent three seasons (2014-17) as an assistant coach with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion. Dean also served as an assistant and head coach of the North York Rangers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) for five seasons (2009-14) and as assistant general manager and head coach of the OJHL’s Toronto Patriots for two (2017-18). He made his international coaching debut at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge, serving as video coach for Team Canada East, and won a bronze medal with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship.

Mallette has been the head coach of the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for the past three seasons (2020-23), prior to which he was an assistant coach with the team for three seasons (2017-20). He also served as an assistant coach with Team Canada Red at the 2021 Capital City Challenge and Team Canada Black at the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Anholt is entering his third season as an assistant coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL). Prior to that, he spent two seasons as the Hurricanes’ skills and development coach. Ahead of the 2021-22 season, Anholt added assistant general manager to his title, working alongside his father, Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt.

Bouchard was named as an assistant coach of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes in June. This will be his second season in the QMJHL, having spent the 2022-23 season as an assistant with with the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Prior to his time in Val-d’Or, he spent three seasons (2019-22) as head coach of College Francais de Longueuil of the Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec (LHJAAAQ), winning coach of the year honours in 2019-20 and 2021-22.

Milley has spent the past six seasons (2017-2023) as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s and made his international coaching debut as an assistant with Team Canada White at the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He entered the coaching world after a 17-year professional playing career with stops in the NHL, AHL and DEL in Germany. He represented Canada on four occasions, including the 1998 Four Nations Cup and a trio of Deutschland Cups (2009, 2011, 2013).

Sonne is entering his third season as the head coach of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades. Prior to arriving in Saskatoon, he spent four seasons (2017-21) as head coach of Angers in the Ligue Magnus in France and three seasons (2014-17) as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. Last season, Sonne earned the Dunc McCallum Trophy as WHL coach of the year.

The Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown will play host to 12 games during the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, including both medal games and a Canadian double-header on Nov. 4.

Ten games will be played at Credit Union Place in Summerside, beginning with Team Canada White facing Czechia on Nov. 2, as well as an all-Canadian matchup on Nov. 3.

Tickets are on sale now, with packages starting at $120. Click here to secure your seat.

TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast the medal games. Preliminary-round games, quarterfinals and semifinals will be available by livestream at .

For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit , or follow along on Facebook , X and Instagram .

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Schedule announced for 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Prince Edward Island to host international tournament for first time

September 06, 2023

CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada has announced the format and schedule for the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Nov. 2-11 in Charlottetown and Summerside, PE.

Six teams will compete in this year’s tournament: Team Canada Red, Team Canada White, Czechia, Finland, Sweden and the United States. Each team will play five preliminary-round games from Nov. 2-7, with the quarterfinal matchups set for Nov. 9 and the semifinals on Nov. 10.

The bronze and gold medal games will take place Nov. 11 at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. AT, respectively.

“Since this event began in 1986, more than 2,000 National Hockey League draft picks have played in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge,” said Breanne Ferris, manager of events and properties for Hockey Canada. “We cannot wait to celebrate the tournament’s first stop on Prince Edward Island with the great hockey fans of Atlantic Canada.”

Each team will play at least one game in Charlottetown and Summerside, ensuring fans in both communities can watch some of hockey’s brightest young stars.

The Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown will play host to 12 games, including both medal games and a Canadian double-header on Nov. 4.

Ten games will be played at Credit Union Place in Summerside, beginning with Team Canada White facing Czechia on Nov. 2, as well as an all-Canadian matchup on Nov. 3.

“Our volunteers, organizers and fans are ecstatic to welcome the world to Prince Edward Island,” said tournament co-chair Tanner Doiron. “This tournament is another steppingstone for the world’s best young players on their journey to the NHL. To play host to an event of this caliber is exciting for not only our two host cities, but the entire province. Our group has been working tirelessly to make sure this event is a great success, and with the support of our fans and volunteers, we know it will be.”

Tickets are on sale now, with packages starting at $120. Click here to secure your seat.

TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast the medal games. Preliminary-round games, quarterfinals and semifinals will be available by livestream at .

For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit , or follow along on Facebook , X and Instagram .

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Hockey Canada confirms hosts for seven events

Hockey Canada confirms hosts for seven events

National and international tournaments will be hosted across five provinces in the 2023-24 season

July 27, 2023

CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada has confirmed the dates and host communities for seven events taking place during the 2023-24 season, including the return of the National Women’s Under-18 Championship.

“Today is an exciting day for Hockey Canada as we announce seven events that play a critical role in the development of men’s, women’s and para hockey athletes, coaches and staff,” said Pat McLaughlin, chief operating officer of Hockey Canada. “We hope that hosting these tournaments will help introduce new fans to the game, create lifelong memories for Canadians and have a positive impact in each community long after the medals have been handed out.”

The 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be played Nov. 2-11 in Charlottetown and Summerside, PE, marking the first time in the tournament’s 37-year history that it will be hosted in the province.

Featuring some of the best young women’s hockey players in Canada, the 2023 National Women’s Under-18 Championship will run Nov. 5-11 in Dawson Creek, BC, bringing the event back to the Peace Region for the first time since 2012.

Canada’s National Para Hockey Team will compete for gold with three other countries at the 2023 Para Hockey Cup, which will be held Dec. 3-9 in Quispamsis, NB, marking the fourth Hockey Canada event that Quispamsis has hosted.

Top Canadian and international players will be showcased at the 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge from Dec. 10-17 in Truro, NS, as the tournament returns to Atlantic Canada for the fourth time and to Truro for the second time.

In the spring, Canada’s Women’s U18 National Club Championship will be decided at the Esso Cup in Vernon, BC from April 21-27, while the Men’s U18 National Club Championship will be played April 22-28 in Membertou, NS.

The best Junior A teams in Canada will take to the ice at the 2024 Centennial Cup in Oakville, ON, with the Oakville Blades hosting the national championship from May 9-19.

“We are thrilled to share the list of communities that will host Hockey Canada events during the 2023-24 season,” said Dean McIntosh, vice-president of strategic partnerships and community impact. “The support we have received from host committees has been outstanding and we are confident that participants, volunteers, partners and fans will have fantastic experiences at each tournament.”

Ticket information for all seven events can be found here. Tournament schedules will be announced at a later date. 

For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit, or follow along through social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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111 players participate in Program of Excellence summer meetings

National men’s under-17 program and National Junior Team began preparations for 2023-24 season during three days of virtual meetings

July 26, 2023

CALGARY, AB - Hockey Canada is proud to recognize the 111 players that took part in the Program of Excellence summer meetings in preparation for the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Sixty-six under-17 players were selected by Alan Millar (Tottenham, ON), director of player personnel, Byron Bonora (Brooks, AB), U17 head scout, and Dave Brown (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON/Erie, OHL), the U17 lead for the Program of Excellence management group, with input from Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of hockey operations. Regional scouts Rob Simpson (Ontario), Pierre Cholette (Quebec), Darren Sutherland (Atlantic) and Darrell Woodley (Ontario), as well as Member representatives, also provided input.

All 66 under-17 players have been drafted by Canadian Hockey League (CHL) teams, including 37 from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), 15 from the Western Hockey League (WHL) and 14 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

“This impressive group of athletes is an excellent representation of the talent pool in our country, and these meetings were a great opportunity to kick off a new season and begin our preparations for two major international events,” Millar said. “This was a great opportunity to introduce prospective national team players to the Program of Excellence and help prepare them for international competition.”

Forty-five under-20 players were selected by Millar and Peter Anholt (Naicam, SK/Lethbridge, WHL), the U20 lead for the POE management group, with input from Salmond and Benoit Roy (Sudbury, ON), senior manager of hockey operations.

The list includes three players who won a gold medal on home ice at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax and Moncton (Beck, Fantilli, Korchinski), and seven who won gold on home ice at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (Barlow, Benson, Gauthier, Ratzlaff, Ritchie, Wood, Yager). It also includes 12 players who were selected in the 2023 NHL Draft last month, including seven first-round picks (Barlow, Benson, Danielson, Fantilli, Ritchie, Wood, Yager).

Players took part in virtual meetings that covered a variety of topics, including education on the Program of Excellence, sport safety presentations, short-term international competition preparation and meetings with the Hockey Canada management group. The discussions will allow participants to continue to evolve as high-performance athletes and utilize the strengths and experience of the Program of Excellence’s leadership.

Players will continue to be evaluated through the early portion of the 2023-24 season before Canadian rosters are named for the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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

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The future is now at 2023 NHL Draft

A closer look at Canadian content from Nashville – from Connor Bedard to Tyler Peddle

Jason La Rose
June 29, 2023

After another successful NHL Draft, one thing remains clear – no country develops hockey players quite like Canada.

In total, more than one-third of the players who had their names called in Nashville – 87 of 224 – hail from north of the 49th parallel. (That includes players who were born outside the country but are products of the Canadian hockey system, like No. 37 pick Ethan Gauthier.)

The list features representation from 10 Members, and 33 who have worn the Maple Leaf in international competition.

The red-and-white run started from the top, with two-time IIHF World Championship gold medallist Connor Bedard going No. 1 to the Chicago Blackhawks. The North Vancouver, B.C., native is just the second player from Canada’s westernmost province to be taken with the first pick, joining Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2012).

Bedard rewrote the World Juniors record book, setting all-time records for goals (17) and points (36) by a Canadian.

Adam Fantilli followed quickly behind, going to the Columbus Blue Jackets with the third pick. He had a historic 2022-23 season on the international stage, becoming just the second Canadian – after Jonathan Toews (2007) – to win gold at the IIHF World Championship and IIHF World Junior Championship in the same season.

Canadians accounted for 12 of the 32 first-round picks; that list included seven players who helped Canada win gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer (Barlow, Benson, Bonk, Molendyk, Ritchie, Wood, Yager) and three who earned bronze at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship (Barlow, Ritchie, Wood).

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) was well represented among the Canadian contingent; 68 of the 87 players selected were products of CHL programs, from 39 different teams – led by six members of the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds. The Western Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League led the way with 29 picks each, followed by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 10.

The Seattle Thunderbirds (Hanzel, Milic, Myatovic, Mynio, Ratzlaff, Sawchyn) paced all club teams with six players selected, while the Brantford Bulldogs (Brown, Lardis, Thomas, Xhekaj), Flint Firebirds (Bertucci, Day, Hay, Pitre), London Knights (Barkey, Bonk, Cowan, Julien) and Ottawa 67's (Foster, Gardiner, Mayich, Pinelli) had four apiece.


Ontario Hockey Federation (34) – Beau Akey, Cam Allen, Matthew Andonovski, Denver Barkey, Colby Barlow, Tristan Bertucci, Sebastian Bradshaw, Cole Brown, Jonathan Castagna, Warren Clark, Easton Cowan, Nathaniel Day, Adam Fantilli, Cooper Foster, Brad Gardiner, Andrew Gibson, Ethan Hay, Jacob Julien, Larry Keenan, Nick Lardis, Angus MacDonell, Ryan MacPherson, Matthew Mayich, Ethan Miedema, Alex Pharand, Luca Pinelli, Coulson Pitre, Carson Rehkopf, Calum Ritchie, Ryan Roobroeck, Konnor Smith, Patrick Thomas, Zaccharya Wisdom, Florian Xhekaj

BC Hockey (19) – Owen Beckner, Connor Bedard, Zach Benson, Luca Cagnoni, Aiden Celebrini, Andrew Cristall, Lukas Dragicevic, Terrell Goldsmith, Kaden Hammell, Jeremy Hanzel, Justin Kipkie, Connor Levis, Thomas Milic, Tanner Molendyk, Nico Myatovic, Sawyer Mynio, Austin Roest, Hoyt Stanley, Matthew Wood

Hockey Alberta (8) – Nate Danielson, Aiden Fink, Emmitt Finnie, Brett Hyland, Ty Mueller, Scott Ratzlaff, Gracyn Sawchyn, Koehn Ziemmer

Hockey Saskatchewan (8) – Noah Chadwick, Riley Heidt, Kalan Lind, Hudson Malinoski, Kalem Parker, Matthew Perkins, Caden Price, Brayden Yager

Hockey Quebec (7) – Mathieu Cataford, Ethan Gauthier, Justin Gill, Rudy Guimond, Charles-Olivier Legault, Quinton Miller, Étienne Morin,

Hockey Manitoba (3) – Carson Bjarnason, Jayden Perron, Carter Sotheran

Hockey New Brunswick (3) – Dylan MacKinnon, Matteo Mann, Bradly Nadeau

Hockey Eastern Ontario (2) – Oliver Bonk, Quinton Burns

Hockey P.E.I. (2) – Luke Coughlin, Cam Squires

Hockey Nova Scotia (1) – Tyler Peddle


2023 National Men’s Team
Adam Fantilli

2023 National Junior Team
Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Thomas Milic

2022 National Junior Team
Connor Bedard

2023 National Men’s Under-18 Team
Cam Allen, Colby Barlow, Tristan Bertucci, Carson Bjarnason, Quinton Burns, Andrew Cristall, Lukas Dragicevic, Andrew Gibson, Riley Heidt, Nick Lardis, Angus MacDonell, Étienne Morin, Alex Pharand, Caden Price, Calum Ritchie, Matthew Wood

2022 National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team
Cam Allen, Denver Barkey, Colby Barlow, Zach Benson, Carson Bjarnason, Oliver Bonk, Mathieu Cataford, Andrew Cristall, Ethan Gauthier, Riley Heidt, Kalan Lind, Dylan MacKinnon, Tanner Molendyk, Caden Price, Scott Ratzlaff, Carson Rehkopf, Calum Ritchie, Matthew Wood, Brayden Yager

2022 National Men’s Under-18 Team
Connor Bedard, Lukas Dragicevic, Adam Fantilli, Kalem Parker, Matthew Wood

2021 National Men’s Under-18 Team
Connor Bedard, Thomas Milic

2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge
Charles-Olivier Legault (White), Thomas Milic (Red)

2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games
Nate Danielson, Adam Fantilli

2022 World Junior A Challenge
Aiden Celebrini (West), Aiden Fink (West), Hudson Malinoski (West)

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Hockey Canada names Program of Excellence management group for 2023-24 season

Brown, Russell, Anholt to oversee men’s U17, U18, U20 programs

March 22, 2023

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada has announced the three Canadian Hockey League (CHL) general managers that will make up the Program of Excellence management group for the 2023-24 season.

Dave Brown (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont./Erie, OHL) and Cam Russell (Cole Harbour, N.S./Halifax, QMJHL) will make their debuts as members of the POE management group, with Brown guiding the men’s under-17 program through the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and Russell leading the under-18 program through the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Peter Anholt (Naicam, Sask./Lethbridge, WHL) will return to the program to advise the under-20 program and Canada’s National Junior Team through the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Anholt will take over for James Boyd (Midland, Ont./Ottawa, OHL), whose two-year tenure with the under-20 program included back-to-back gold medals at the 2022 and 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships.

“We are excited to welcome Dave and Cam to the POE to lead our under-17 and under-18 programs, and to welcome back Peter as the under-20 lead after an outstanding job guiding our under-18 program,” said Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), senior vice-president of hockey operations. “All three individuals bring a wealth of CHL experience to our program, and we look forward to having them work alongside our athletes and staff while leading our men’s national teams next season.

“We also wish to thank James Boyd for two years of commitment and dedication to Canada’s National Junior Team. James was instrumental in helping Canada win two-straight gold medals at the World Juniors, and we are grateful for his effort and leadership over the past two years.”

Brown is in his eighth season (2015-23) as general manager of the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) after serving four seasons (2011-15) as director of hockey operations with the team. He helped lead Erie to an OHL championship in 2017, and contributed to a CHL record of four-consecutive 50-win seasons (2011-15). Prior to joining the Otters, Brown spent seven seasons with the Mississauga/Niagara IceDogs, serving as assistant general manager (2003-05) and general manager (2005-10).

Russell has spent 22 seasons with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He has served as general manager for the past 15 years (2008-23), helping the Mooseheads win the Memorial Cup in 2013. Russell started his coaching career as an assistant with Halifax for three seasons (2000-03) before serving as a player development consultant for two years (2004-06). He also served as head coach for parts of five seasons (2006-11), adding the GM title to his coaching duties in 2008. As a player, he played 396 NHL games over 10 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks (1989-99) and Colorado Avalanche (1998-99), and won two Presidents Cup championships with the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques.

Anholt has led the under-18 program for the past two seasons, helping Canada’s National Summer Under-18 Team win a gold medal at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He is currently in his eighth full season (2015-23) as general manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL) after being promoted from assistant general manager in 2014. Anholt also spent time as head coach of the Hurricanes for part of the 2014-15 season, and has won the WHL Executive of the Year award twice (2015-16, 2019-20). Anholt brings a wealth of WHL experience as a head coach, assistant coach and scout, including stints with the Prince Albert Raiders (1986-89, 2002-07), Seattle Thunderbirds (1989-92, 2012-14), Red Deer Rebels (1992-95, 1998-2000, 2007-08, 2011-12) and Kelowna Rockets (1996-98).

The management group will work alongside Salmond and Alan Millar (Tottenham, Ont.), director of player personnel, as well as the organization’s hockey operations staff. Day-to-day operations for the POE management group include assisting in coach and player selections, supporting the coaching staffs and providing input during camps and tournaments throughout the season.

The Program of Excellence will be overseen by Pat McLaughlin (Saint John, N.B.), Hockey Canada’s chief operating officer; Salmond; Millar; Dan MacKenzie (Guelph, Ont.), CHL president; David Branch (Bathurst, N.B.), OHL commissioner; Mario Cecchini (Saint-Lambert, Que.), incoming QMJHL commissioner; and Ron Robison (Indian Head, Sask.), WHL commissioner.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, please visit, or follow along via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Canada Red gets silver at 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

United States wins gold, Finland takes bronze

November 13, 2022

LANGLEY, B.C. – Canada Red has finished with the silver medal at the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, falling 11-3 to the United States in the gold medal game on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.

Porter Martone (Peterborough, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) scored twice and Nathan Villeneuve (Ottawa, Ont./Sudbury, OHL) added a power play marker for Canada Red, which briefly got to within two midway through the second period before the Americans pulled away for their sixth U17 gold medal.

Cole Eiserman led the way for the United States with three goals – finishing with a tournament-high 12 – and three assists. James Hagens had two goals and three assists, finishing atop the tournament scoring race with 21 points.

“We liked the way we started the game; we were playing well. Their goalie made some big saves when we had a power play early on,” said Canada Red head coach Greg Walters (Toronto, Ont./Owen Sound, OHL). “We thought we were playing a really good hockey game. We made one bad turnover and then the game kind of spiraled away from us.”

“This has been an amazing experience. There is nothing like playing against the best players in the world,” said Canada Red captain Berkly Catton (Saskatoon, Sask./Spokane, WHL). “I learned a lot from my teammates and coaches, and talking to the people around the event has been an unreal experience.”

Canada Black finishes fourth

In the bronze medal game earlier on Saturday, Canada Black dropped a 7-1 decision to Finland.

Finland led 3-0 after one period and took a four-goal lead nine seconds into the second before Lukas Karmiris (Brantford, Ont./Mississauga, OHL) scored the lone goal for Canada Black. It’s the second bronze for the Finns at the tournament, and first since 1998.

“We put ourselves in a tough spot. Hockey is a game of emotion and with teenage kids there are ups and downs. Unfortunately for us the game started with a quick down, and it was difficult to recover from there,” said Canada Black head coach Mark O’Leary (Owen Sound, Ont./Moose Jaw, WHL). “We did not quit, we kept playing, but it was a tough game from start to finish.”

Following the gold medal game, the tournament all-star team was announced. Catton, Eiserman and Hagens comprise the forwards, Sam Dickinson (Toronto, Ont./London, OHL) from Canada Black and Henry Mews (Nepean, Ont./Ottawa, OHL) from Canada White are the defencemen and Canada Red’s Gabriel D’Aigle (Sorel-Tracy, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL) is the goaltender.

For more information on the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, please visit or follow through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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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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