OTTAWA (CIS) – Hockey Canada and Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced Wednesday a two-game exhibition series that will see a selection of CIS all-stars face off against Canada’s National Junior Team prospects as they prepare for the 40th IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland (Dec. 26 – Jan. 5).
The games will be played at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, Dec. 13 at noon ET.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Hockey Canada for what should be two very entertaining hockey games, and the first step in an expanded partnership between our organizations,” said Graham Brown, chief executive officer of CIS. “We all know how excited Canadians get every December about our National Junior Team. These games will provide great exposure for CIS men’s hockey, and I know our players and coaches are looking forward this opportunity to shine on a national stage.”
“It is important for us to make the most of our opportunity to assess the players during December’s selection camp,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams for Hockey Canada. “These two games on international ice provide us with additional insights we simply wouldn’t get from intrasquad play, as we look to build the strongest team possible to represent Canada in Finland.”
The 23-player CIS roster, comprised of 11 standouts from the OUA conference as well as six apiece from the AUS and Canada West, will be announced on Nov. 30. The coaching staff, including representation from all three CIS leagues, will also be unveiled by the end of the month.
For its part, Hockey Canada will announce the roster of players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp on Dec. 1. The camp will take place at the MasterCard Centre from Dec. 10 to 13 and the final roster will be announced on Dec. 20, following pre-competition games in Finland against Belarus and the Czech Republic.
“I want to thank both Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League for the dialogue with CIS over the past few years,” said Kevin Dickie, chair of the CIS men’s hockey technical committee and member of the CIS board of directors. “Having coached the World Junior team, I know how critical these games are in their preparation and selection process. From our end, it’s an opportunity to showcase the outstanding caliber of CIS men’s hockey, which is as good as it gets in our country.”
The National Junior Team has faced CIS competition on a regular basis in recent years in its preparation for the IIHF Championship, with most of those contests coming against a single university team or a selection from two or three programs. Last December, the Hockey Canada hopefuls swept a two-game set versus the Toronto Selects from Ryerson, York and U of T.