With a three-peat on the line and a final opportunity for player evaluations before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the 2017 Spengler Cup holds a new meaning for the 20 players selected to wear the red-and-white.
The oldest club tournament in the world, the Spengler Cup has been won by Canada’s National Men’s Team the last two years – a feat that hadn’t been accomplished since 2002-2003. Returning as part of this year’s 20-player roster are five players who were part of the 2016 squad – Andrew Ebbett (Vernon, B.C./SC Bern, NLA), Maxim Noreau (Montreal/SC Bern, NLA), David McIntyre (Pefferlaw, Ont./EV Zug, NLA), Mason Raymond (Cochrane, Alta./SC Bern, NLA), and Nick Spaling (Palmerston, Ont./Genève-Servette HC, NLA).
This year’s tournament is also being used by Hockey Canada as one of the last opportunities for Canada’s National Men’s Team management and coaching staff – led by general manager Sean Burke (Windsor, Ont./Montreal, NHL) and head coach Willie Desjardins (Climax, Sask.) – to evaluate players within a short-term competition setting before selecting the group that will represent Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
“The Spengler Cup allows us an opportunity to take another look at some players who’ve been part of earlier teams, as well as work with some new faces, just given how it aligns with other league schedules,” said Burke, who noted that seven of the 20 players selected come from either the NCAA or the American Hockey League (AHL). “Our goal remains to put together the best possible team to compete in PyeongChang in February. We’re looking forward to this opportunity to work with new players, and take part in this historic event.”
Canada has won the Spengler Cup 14 times (1984, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2012, 2015, and 2016) as well as being a nine-time runner-up (1985, 1988, 1990, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2010).