LILLEHAMMER, Norway – Team Canada named defenceman Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Lloydminster, AMHL) captain for the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, with forward Benoît-Olivier Groulx (Gatineau, Que./Gatineau, LHMAAAQ) and defenceman Jett Woo (Winnipeg, Man./Winnipeg, MMAAAHL) serving as alternate captains.
The 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games run Feb. 12-21, in Lillehammer, Norway.
Canada opens the Games on Saturday, Feb. 13, against Russia, and will also face Finland, Norway, and the United States during preliminary-round play. A complete tournament schedule can be found here.
“We feel that so far, Ty Smith, Benoît-Olivier Groulx, and Jett Woo have exemplified the type of role models we want for our team to have the identity that we’re looking for as we look towards playing our Canadian Way,” said head coach Martin Raymond of the selection. “We feel that these three young men will continue to provide strong examples to our young players as we move forward. We are all very excited to begin the tournament in a few days.”
The men’s hockey tournament features five countries – Canada, Finland, Norway, Russia, and the United States – who will play in a round-robin format before semifinals and the gold-medal game. In 2012, Team Canada won the bronze medal in Innsbruck, Austria.
The 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games will also feature the Men’s Skills Challenge, where players will be able to showcase their skills in six events – fastest lap, shooting accuracy, skating agility, fastest shot, passing precision, and puck control. Carson Focht (Regina, Sask./Regina, SMAAAHL) will represent Canada in the challenge, which features 16 athletes from different national Olympic committees paired in head-to-head heats for points.
The players, born in 2000, were chosen by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel, with support from regional scouts, Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Barclay Branch (Ontario), Wade Klippenstein (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic), and Darrell Woodley (Ontario). Team selection was based on players’ permanent home residence, and players playing outside of Canada were not considered in the evaluation process. All regions (East, Ontario, and West) were ensured five players on the final Canadian roster, with the remaining two spots being awarded to the next-best players.