ETOBICOKE, Ont. – Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team will begin to assemble in Etobicoke, Ont., this week before flying to Slovakia for two pre-competition games in preparation for the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship, April 13-23, in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia.
Among the players chosen Monday is Brandon Wheat Kings’ forward Stelio Mattheos.
The 6’1” 190 lb Winnipeg product, who was the first overall selection in the 2015 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft, is coming off a solid sophomore season with the Wheat Kings that saw him score 26 goals and 61 points in 69 games.
During his first two years in Brandon, the former Winnipeg AAA Bantam Monarch has scored 40 goals and 82 points in 120 games.
Hockey Canada also announced that Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Calgary/Spokane, WHL), Maxime Comtois (Longueuil, Que./Victoriaville, QMJHL), Ian Mitchell (Calahoo, Alta./Spruce Grove, AJHL), Isaac Ratcliffe (London, Ont./Guelph, OHL), and Ian Scott (Calgary/Prince Albert, WHL) are the first six players to join the team roster.
Joining them for the pre-competition training camp are six under-aged players who’ve been invited to take part in order to gain more international experience: Ty Dellandrea (Port Perry, Ont./Flint, OHL), Anderson MacDonald (Quispamsis, N.B./Sherbrooke, QMJHL); Jack McBain (Toronto/Toronto Jr. Canadiens, OJHL); Ryan Merkley (Mississauga, Ont./Guelph, OHL); Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Spokane, WHL); and Akil Thomas (Toronto/Niagara, OHL).
Hockey Canada is grateful for the support of its junior hockey partners, led by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), in helping provide this development opportunity and international experience for these young players.
“We felt it was important to start putting the pieces together and having the players on the ice as we assemble and start building a strong base for the group that will eventually be the one to wear the red-and-white at this year’s U18 world championship,” said Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel. Jankowski is responsible for leading the player selection process, with input from head coach Darren Rumble (Barrie, Ont./Moncton, QMJHL), assistant coaches Steve Hamilton (Edmonton/Edmonton, WHL) and Stéphane Julien (Shawinigan, Que./Sherbrooke, QMJHL), and goaltending consultant Fred Brathwaite (Ottawa/Hockey Canada).
“As players progress through the CHL playoffs, we will be making additions to our roster with the goal of playing for gold at worlds.”
Players will hit the ice for three practices at the MasterCard Centre’s Rink 1 during their time in Etobicoke – all practices are open to the public and free of charge:
- Monday, April 3: 5 p.m. – 6:20 p.m. ET
- Tuesday, April 4: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET
- Wednesday, April 5: 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET
On April 5, the team departs for Slovakia to continue its training camp and play two pre-tournament games – April 9 in Bratislava versus Russia; and April 10 in Piestany versus Switzerland.
Canada opens the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship on April 13 against Latvia; it will also play Finland, Slovakia and Switzerland in preliminary-round action. TSN, the official broadcast partner of Hockey Canada, is broadcasting 12 games, including all of Team Canada’s match-ups at the IIHF U18 World Championship. RDS will broadcast 10 games, including Canada’s four preliminary-round games, two quarter-final games, both semifinals, and the bronze- and gold-medal games.
Canada has won seven medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship, including three gold medals (2003, 2008, 2013).