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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!

In my own words: Adam Dixon

The Team Canada veteran talks about the summers at Campfire Circle that changed his life, and why he’s still giving back to the camp as a volunteer

Adam Dixon
|
April 19, 2024

Growing up and going to school in Midland, Ontario, I was always The Kid With Cancer.

I mean, it makes sense. Midland is only 17,000 people, and there weren’t many kids who had cancer.

I was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma when I was 10. It’s a rare type of cancer that typically attacks the bones in your legs and pelvis. Mine was in my right tibia. It was removed and replaced with a donor bone, along with a metal plate and multiple screws.

So I was a kid, and I had cancer.

But when I went to Campfire Circle, I was so much more than that.

Campfire Circle is a summer camp for kids with cancer, or those who have been affected by cancer – like kids who have lost siblings. Everybody was The Kid With Cancer, so your other traits got to show through. I was The Athletic Kid, I was The Fun Kid. It was my little two-week escape every summer.

I have no idea how my parents found the camp, I just remember I was signed up and on the bus. And the six summers I spent there changed my life.

At camp, I was able to just be myself. I wasn't the kid that was timekeeping the hockey games because I couldn't play anymore. I was the kid that was involved. I was the kid that was running around, having a good time, doing stuff that my mom would never have allowed me to do at home. But at camp, where there are doctors on site, there's a little bit more freedom. If I break my leg, everything's going to be fine.

The camp is so well set up for people that were in my situation. You could have chemotherapy at camp. It's accessible, so you can do stuff that's not an option for most kids at home.

It’s a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one. The camp is in Muskoka, so you couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place. And just to be outdoors all day, yes please. We'd play road hockey. There's a giant slip and slide. And most of all, it’s just the time spent with your fellow campers pulling pranks on the other campers or the other cabin groups.

Again, it changed my life.

For a lot of years, para hockey was everything. All of my vacation time went to hockey. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I’ve been able to travel, win world championships, play at the Paralympics. I’ve spent most of the last two decades wearing the Hockey Canada logo on my chest and representing my country. Amazing.

But after the Paralympics in 2018, I started focusing on other things in my life. And one of those was Campfire Circle. I had signed up to volunteer prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the camp was shut down for a few summers because it’s a very vulnerable group.

As soon as we were able to go, I was back. I've been there for two summers now as a full-time volunteer. My partner and I are both volunteers. We've done some weekends at camps as well, which is a fun little way to escape the grind of life.

I was a cabin counsellor my first year and I also ran the wood shop, helping kids stay safe. I can just imagine people I know reading this and laughing… I’m basically a giant kid. Who would trust me with sharp tools?

It was a little daunting at first, but I figured it out. Last summer, they needed someone to help out with a whitewater canoe trip. That's something I've never done before, but they needed someone, so I'm in. Just point and shoot, right? I ended up spending two weeks on the French River. It was outside of my abilities, but we figured it out. This summer I'm back as a cabin counsellor, so I'm just a stay-at-home parent, basically. I just run with the kids all day, so that's pretty fun.

I do have one specific goal for this year, though. My birthday is August 13, so when I was a kid I’d always have my birthday at camp. When you're a camper you get to pick three counsellors to throw in the lake. As a counsellor, I have yet to be cool enough that I get thrown in the lake, so this summer I have to figure out which kids have birthdays and then really pester them so they'll throw me in the lake.

I really want to get chucked in the lake.

One thing I’ve been asked, as someone who is “in charge,” is if there’s pressure on the counsellors. Some people may think that there’s this huge need to make it an unbelievable experience because of what these kids have been through, but it just happens naturally. The kids have fought cancer. That's the worst thing that's probably ever going to happen to them. Going to camp, that's easy. They create their own fun. Some of it is built into the camp atmosphere, sure, but when that thing that makes you “different” at home no longer means as much, you're just yourself and that's pretty cool.

I’ll admit, sometimes volunteering can be a bit selfish. Getting away from society for two weeks is a great little break. I can be silly, I can have fun, I can not be an adult for 14 days. But once I’m there, really, it’s about the kids.

I know how much fun I had when I was 11 years old, and I want to bring that same amount of fun to the campers. I think about when I was a kid and I think about all the counsellors that I really looked up to, and I try to bring a lot of the same energy. Does it work? Who knows, you don't get feedback from the campers. They just make fun of you. But yeah, I think I do a pretty good job.

I’m going to finish with a plea of sorts. Volunteer. Get out and give back. It could be a summer camp. It could be a hockey tournament (I hear the World Juniors are coming back to Canada this winter). It could be anything. It’s about making a difference.

There are so many events around the world that can only run because of volunteers. It's an incredible way to get out and meet like-minded people, people that want to give back to their community.

So why not volunteer? It's awesome. But don’t take my word for it… get out and do it!

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'You’re always fighting for them’

For more than two decades, Braden Robertson has volunteered his time and given financial support to ensure the growth of girls' hockey in Vernon

Nicholas Pescod
|
April 15, 2024

For more than two decades, Braden Robertson has been a stalwart figure in the Vernon, B.C., hockey community.

Whether it’s been coaching minor hockey, helping his daughter’s hockey team or in his current role as co-chair of the Esso Cup host committee, Robertson has dedicated countless hours giving back to the game he loves. 

“I started off playing minor hockey like every other Canadian kid and just evolved from there,” Robertson says about his passion for volunteering. 

After his playing days were over, Robertson got involved with coaching teams in the Vernon area in 2001. He took a few years off when his daughters Myah and Hannah were born but got back behind the bench when Hannah began playing hockey.

“Once my daughter started playing hockey, I got back into coaching. Head coach, assistant coach, I did all of that for quite a while,” Robertson says.

However, as Hannah, who will participate in the 2024 Esso Cup with the Thompson-Okanagan Lakers, grew older and began playing at a higher level, Robertson took a step back from coaching. He instead found other ways to stay involved, working to help secure sponsorships for the Lakers over the past couple of seasons. 

“When your kids get older and they play at a higher level, they have higher coaching, more than my experience,” Robertson says. “You’ve always been a part of the game, and now you’re like ‘Where can I fit in, how can I help out?’ and that’s my part, helping out wherever is needed.” 

And that’s exactly what he’s done. This past summer, Roberston built a dressing room for the Lakers inside Kal Tire Place. A business owner and contractor by trade, Robertson covered the majority of the construction costs — close to $7,000 — and secured sponsorship funding to cover whatever was outstanding. 

“I wish we could have done this sooner,” he says. “It leaves a bit of a legacy on my behalf of the sport that I love playing and watching and it was nice to give back. It's nice that they have a home instead of having to use a broom closet or something. They now have something that they take pride in and that’s awesome. You’re always fighting for them.”

Robertson has also led numerous sponsorship initiatives over the years, raising thousands of dollars for the Lakers. Robertson says he’s proud of how the people of Vernon have come together over the years to ensure the girls have a chance. 

“It obviously pays some of the bills that it helps families out the parents out, lowers the cost, brings the community in with the team,” he says. “I can’t say enough about the community I live in. Their mindset with kids and sports here is huge. It’s a very giving community. We’ve surrounded ourselves with very good people. We love giving back and I do too.” 

Kevin Bathurst, who shares Esso Cup co-chair duties, says without Robertson, the Lakers dressing room never gets built. 

“This team finally has a home and it’s been a long time coming,” says Bathurst, who is also the executive director of hockey operations with the Greater Vernon Minor Hockey Association. “I think it is a legacy that Braden can hang his hat on. That dressing room is going to be a mainstay in the community for a very long time. The girls can walk down the hallway where the dressing rooms are at Kal Tire Place and see a Lakers logo, not just a Vernon Vipers logo. It’s through some of Braden’s hard work that they’ve got the recognition and the facilities that these girls deserve.” 

Today, Robertson serves alongside Bathurst as they work to ensure Vernon and Kal Tire Place are ready to host Canada’s Women’s U18 National Club Championship. He’s excited for the girls who will be participating in the tournament and the impact the event will have on the broader community — profits will be going towards the creation of a post-secondary scholarship fund and a grassroots development fund that will support girls’ hockey in the region. 

“I'm looking forward to all the kids coming. Hopefully we put a good product out there and they enjoy it because this is one of the biggest tournaments these girls are ever going to play in,” Robertson says. “We are giving back to the community through scholarships, and we have a grassroots program that will help young girls get into hockey that maybe couldn’t afford it. It will help them out with the bills, whether it is hockey equipment or team fees, league fees or whatnot.” 

Bathurst says Robertson has been the “flagship volunteer” for girls’ hockey in the Vernon area and that his dedication and commitment to the game is unparalleled.

“You couldn't find a better volunteer and champion of female hockey than Braden,” says Bathurst.
“He really is an example for many of us to follow in terms of the growth of the female game.” 

At the end of the day, Robertson says giving back to the game he loves so much isn’t just about hockey, it’s about shaping the next generation of adults and having a positive impact early in life. 

“It’s about trying to create good human beings, members of society that can move on and work hard,” he says. “It’s about finding out what they are good at. It’s about being a good human being and I think hockey and all sports are that way. Sometimes people lean too much towards the sport itself, but we are raising these young adults that will have to contribute one day.”



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Kaylee Grant instructs a group of young girls on the ice at the One For All event in Yellowknife.

Making an impact in the North

A game-changer in women’s hockey, Kaylee Grant tirelessly gives her time across the territories, volunteering to ensure opportunities exist for women and girls

Katie Brickman
|
April 14, 2024

The first thing Kaylee Grant did when she moved to Yellowknife was find a hockey team.

The operating engineer took a one-year term to gain experience in her industry. Twelve years later, she’s still in the Northwest Territories and hockey has been a reason why she calls it home.

“You gravitate to what you know, and I knew sports,” Grant says. “When you join a sport, you instantly have 17 friends and a group where you feel accepted through a common goal and interest. When I moved to the North, I didn’t know how else to meet friends, so I went to the rink right away.”

Grant grew up around the rink in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The community was also a hockey hotbed, supporting its Junior A, Junior B and university teams. Being around that passion and community made hockey an important part of her life.

“Playing hockey is what we did,” Grant says. “The community rallied behind our teams and the rinks were full, the atmosphere was great, and hockey was so prominent.”

She played minor hockey in Nova Scotia before moving to Newfoundland and Labrador to play at Memorial University. At 23 years old, she made the move to Yellowknife and knew she would find her community inside a rink.

“I find that the easiest thing to do when you come to a new place to meet people is through sport,” she says. “With joining a hockey team, I was already creating a group of people that were like-minded in interests and similar age. Plus, there are so many opportunities in the North to grow as coaches, players and mentors that have been so helpful.”

Grant’s love for the game wasn’t just as a player—she expanded her knowledge by getting into coaching while in Nova Scotia. She started as an off-ice coordinator with the Antigonish Bulldogs women’s under-18 team.

Kaylee Grant smiles as she skates with a young player on the ice.

She did her Coach Development 1 training before getting her High Performance 1 training and evaluation certification. She continued to pursue additional coaching certification and training over the years to educate herself and give back to her community.

“I think seeing the female game continuously grow and develop that keeps me interested,” Grant says. “I love to see the progress in my players. I love seeing these players grow and adapt as individuals. Seeing them get involved in coaching is the coolest part.”

Her coaching philosophy is to develop a player’s passion for the game, be a role model and create an environment that is positive for women and girls.

Coaching and mentoring young girls are important to Grant, and she saw that path was through high-level opportunities, particularly by becoming a facilitator to drive more players into the coaching route. She has been working with Hockey North and the Hockey Canada Women Master Coach Developer program, which is focused on removing barriers to coaching education for women.

“Kaylee has volunteered at pretty much every level and she’s getting more involved with training coaches and being a clinician, which is an amazing progression for her,” says Kyle Kugler, executive director of Hockey North and a close friend of Grant. “She’s a great ambassador for hockey by giving back to other coaches through her experiences and helping with their development.”

Through being a volunteer coach, Grant has been able to experience some highlights with her teams, including as head coach for the Arctic Winter Games and Canada Winter Games, and as an assistant coach for Team North at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship.

“Hockey North has given me so many opportunities and having that support has impacted me as a coach,” Grant says. “I enjoyed every year with those territorial teams and those experiences are a very big reason why I stay here – the coaching opportunities and knowing that we continually have room to grow.”

Another event that Grant was a key volunteer for was the inaugural One For All festival held in Yellowknife in February. It was a four-day event for women and girls from across the N.W.T. and Nunavut that included goaltending clinics, on-ice scrimmages and other off-ice experiences. The event was launched in partnership with Hockey Canada and Hockey North to celebrate the sport and grow grassroots hockey in the North.

“Kaylee is one of our co-leads in the North, and when we set out to deliver this programming in Yellowknife, it was a no-brainer that she would be involved. And typical Kaylee, she just runs with a task and completely owns it,” says Katie Greenway, manager of women’s and girls’ hockey with Hockey Canada. “To have champions like Kaylee that dedicate themselves to their community and sport is so important.”

Giving back through coaching is just what Grant does—it’s like a hobby for her and she does it for others and to see more women in the sport, not for what it could bring to her.

“I’ve known Kaylee for a few years now and she has so much on her plate, but she never says no,” Greenway says. “She doesn’t do it for the accolades, but out of the goodness of her heart with a smile on her face. She’s fantastic and is really impacting everyone that she comes across.”

Grant’s impact on hockey in the North has been felt by many of the girls she has coached, mentored and played with over the past 12 years, but it’s the bigger picture that is most important to her.

“I’m not going to say that myself, individually, has drastically impacted female hockey in the North. I think I am a very small portion of what’s been going on in the North in the last 10 years,” Grant says. “I would like to think that I have helped develop more female coaches and I’ve been a good role model. I think if I have impacted hockey in the North, its pushing players to want to coach a little bit, but it’s a collective—everyone has left their mark on the female game.”

For Kugler, as the lone administrator for Hockey North, having volunteers like Kaylee is so critical to the work and development of hockey players.

“I think volunteers are essential for the delivery of anything in small communities in the North,” he says. “[Kaylee] takes on more than we even realize. Coaches have a huge influence on teams and athletes and she’s a positive role model and advocate for female hockey. She’s selfless with her time and she’s just an awesome person.”

Interested in becoming a coach? Visit HockeyCanada.ca/Coaching, or contact your local hockey association or Hockey Canada Member for more information.

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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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Schedule
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Prague & Ostrava, Czechia
Date: May 10 to 26
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Edmonton, Alta., Canada
Date: Aug 3 to 10