Feb 01, 2015
CALGARY (Courtesy of Lance Doucet, University of Calgary) – After months of evaluation, 23 of the Canada West conference’s best men’s hockey players assembled in Calgary Saturday to form Team Canada and travel to the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain, where they hope to defend the FISU title.
Since 1997, Canada has been represented at the FISU Games in men’s hockey by each of the three CIS leagues on a rotating basis. Canada West teams have medaled in all three appearances, capturing bronze in 1997 (Muju-Chonju, South Korea) and 2003 (Tarvisio, Italy) as well as silver in 2009 (Harbin, China). The Canadian squad from Atlantic University Sport claimed gold at the most recent Universiade, reaching the top step of the podium in Trentino, Italy in December 2013.
Led by Saskatchewan Huskies head coach Dave Adolph, the 2015 team was selected out from the conference’s eight programs based on performance during the 28-game season. Players were named to the roster in early December, but Saturday was the first chance for the coaching staff to see the entire team on the same ice.
“The skill level in CIS is often underrated, but it was exemplified out there today. The guys were very competitive despite being tired from games last night,” said Adolph, who recently became the winningest coach in CIS men’s hockey history. “This is a fast team, we are going to be using the same template Hockey Canada has been using for the past number of years. We made sure we found kids that can play down ice. We also have three of the best goaltenders in the country.”
Filling the locker room usually reserved for the Calgary Dinos, five Calgary players opened the doors for new teammates they usually go head-to-head with on a weekly basis, including six skaters from their biggest rival, the Alberta Golden Bears.
“They are all good guys, what happens on the ice stays on the ice,” explained Calgary team captain Kevin King. “It is pretty cool though, we will be teammates for the next couple of weeks and put aside the bad blood, then go back to battling each other after.”
For most of the players, Saturday was also the first chance to throw a Team Canada jersey over their head.
“It is every kid’s dreams to be able to put on that Canadian sweater, it is something I will always remember,” shared Alberta’s T.J. Foster, who won the Canada West scoring crown with 42 points (18-24-42).
Following a team photo, the players switched into their practice jerseys and were put through the motions for the first time as a team. The coaching staff emphasized the need to come together fast and kept a number of lines and pairings together from club teams. Alberta’s Foster, Jordan Hickmott, and Kruise Reddick all skated as one line, while the duos of Chris Collins – Elgin Pearce and Tyler Fiddler – Cody Cartier were kept together from Calgary and Mount Royal respectively. Two of the three defensive units were also teammates from their Canada West squads.
Goaltenders Dalyn Flette (Mount Royal), Ryan Holfeld (Saskatchewan) and Kris Lazaruk (Calgary) all had the chance to work with Dinos goaltending coach Brad Kirkwood before taking part in drills with the rest of the skaters. Adolph expects to alternate two netminders until the medal round when a full-time starter will likely be chosen.
“At the beginning of this season I had no intentions of being on this team, I did not think I was on the radar,” said Lazaruk. “It feels like icing on the cake for my final season. It is going to be a special couple of weeks.”
Along with goaltending, the team is yet to name a captain for the tournament. Team Canada features three players who are captain on their own team in King (Calgary), Reddick (Alberta) and Matthew Delahey (Saskatchewan).
Canada will begin the tournament a day ahead of the opening ceremonies when they take on South Korea on February 3. From there, the Red and White will get a day off before taking on Sweden, followed by a power-house matchup with Russia to conclude the group stage.
All games can be seen live on the web at http://www.livefisu.tv/ .
If all goes as planned, Canada will be playing on the final day and defending gold on February 14.
“The way it has worked the past couple of years, it has been Canada and Russia at the end in the gold medal game. For them to be in the same pool as us is a little unusual,” noted Adolph. “Our mindset is to get better every day and get to the medal round.”
NOTES: In Trentino just 13 months ago, the AUS all-stars captured gold by defeating Kazakhstan 6-2 in the final following a 2-1 nail-biter over two-time defending champion Russia in the semi-final. The powerful Russian lineup included 11 players with KHL experience, nine of them skating in the league at the time of the FISU tournament… In 14 all-time appearances at the Universiade tourney, the Canucks have tallied an impressive 13 medals, including four gold, three silver and six bronze. In addition to the titles won by AUS stars in 2013 and 2007 (Turin, Italy), the red and white was crowned in 1991 in Sapporo, Japan, while represented by the senior national squad, and in 1981 in Jaca, Spain, when the University of Alberta Golden Bears wore the maple leaf uniform… Canada (2013, 2007) and Russia (2011, 2009, 2005, 2003) have combined to win the last six FISU tourneys… Eleven countries will compete for gold in Andalusia. Canada joins Russia, Sweden, and South Korea in Pool B, while a three-team Pool C consists of Kazakhstan, Japan, and the United States. The host Spanish join Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and China in Pool A. The top two finishers from each pool and the two best third-place teams will advance to the quarterfinals…
Team Canada website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/universiade/winter/2015/index
Granada 2015 website: http://www.granada2015.org/en/
TEAM CANADA ROSTER
Name – University – Hometown
Dalyn Flette – Mount Royal – Edmonton, Alta.
Ryan Holfeld – Saskatchewan – Leroy, Sask.
Kris Lazaruk – Calgary – Edmonton, Alta.
Jesse Craige – Alberta -Edmonton, Alta.
Kodie Curran – Calgary – Calgary, Alta.
Matthew Delahey – Saskatchewan – Moose Jaw, Sask.
Neil Manning – UBC – Nanaimo, B.C.
Kendall McFaull – Saskatchewan – Rosetown, Sask.
Luke Paulsen – Manitoba – Winnipeg, Man.
Jordan Rowley – Alberta – Edmonton, Alta.
Cody Cartier – Mount Royal – Sylvan Lake, Alta.
Chris Collins – Calgary – Calgary, Alta.
Jordan DePape – Manitoba – Winnipeg, Man.
Tyler Fiddler – Mount Royal – Prince Albert, Sask.
T.J. Foster – Alberta – Slave Lake, Alta.
Cody Fowlie – Regina – Airdrie, Alta.
Jordan Hickmott – Alberta – Mission, B.C.
Kevin King – Calgary – Calgary, Alta.
Levko Koper – Alberta – Edmonton, Alta.
Mitchell Maxwell – Lethbridge – Magrath, Alta.
Craig McCallum – Saskatchewan – Canoe Lake, Sask.
Elgin Pearce – Calgary – Port Coquitlam, B.C.
Kruise Reddick – Alberta – Manor, Sask.
Team Leader: Todd Johnson (University of Regina)
Head Coach: Dave Adolph (University of Saskatchewan)
Associate Coach: Mark Howell (University of Calgary)
Associate Coach: Mike Sirant (University of Manitoba)
Video Coach: Spiros Anastas (University of Lethbridge)
Equipment/Athletic Therapy: Chris Linder (University of Calgary)
Equipment/Athletic Therapy: T.J. Mussbacher (University of Alberta)
TEAM CANADA TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (all times local / 6 hours ahead of EST)
Tuesday, Feb. 3 (17:00): Canada vs. South Korea
Thursday, Feb. 5 (17:00): Canada vs. Sweden
Saturday, Feb. 7 (17:00): Canada vs. Russia
Wednesday, Feb. 11 (TBD): Quarterfinals
Friday, Feb. 13 (TBD): Semi-finals
Saturday, Feb. 14 (12:00): Bronze
Saturday, Feb. 14 (16:00): Final
About the Winter Universiade
The Winter Universiade is a biennial international multi-sport event open to competitors who are at least 17 and less than 28 years of age as of January 1 in the year of the Games. Participants must be full-time students at a post-secondary institution (university, college, CEGEP) or have graduated from a post-secondary institution in the year preceding the event.
The Granada Universiade will feature nine compulsory sports and one optional sport. Compulsory sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, nordic skiing, short track speed skating, figure skating, synchronized skating, snowboarding. Optional sport: freestyle skiing.
NOTE: Biathlon and nordic skiing will take place in Strbske Pleso and Osrblie, Slovakia from Jan. 24 to Feb. 1, prior to the start of the Games in Granada.
Official website: www.granada2015.org
About Canadian Interuniversity Sport
Canadian Interuniversity Sport is the national governing body of university sport in Canada. Every year, over 11,500 student-athletes and 700 coaches from 56 universities and four regional associations vie for 21 national championships in 12 different sports. CIS also provides high performance international opportunities for Canadian student-athletes at Winter and Summer Universiades, as well as numerous world university championships. For further information, visit www.cis-sic.ca or follow us on: