Hockey Canada has named nine Western Hockey League players to their training camp roster for the upcoming 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship, scheduled for April 18-28 in in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden.
From the 23-player roster, WHL players will represent two of the three goaltenders, three of the seven defencemen, and four of 13 forwards.
WHL players on the roster include forwards Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Yukon / Lethbridge Hurricanes), Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta. / Winnipeg ICE), Brayden Tracey (Calgary, Alta. / Moose Jaw Warriors), and Connor Zary (Saskatoon, Sask. / Kamloops Blazers). On defence, Daemon Hunt (Brandon, Man. / Moose Jaw Warriors), Kaedan Korczak (Yorkton, Sask. / Kelowna Rockets) and Braden Schneider (Prince Albert, Sask. / Brandon Wheat Kings) will represent the WHL. Goaltenders Dylan Garand (Victoria, B.C. / Kamloops Blazers) and Taylor Gauthier (Calgary, Alta. / Prince George Cougars) were named among the team’s trio of goaltenders.
This year’s roster includes several players high on the radar for the 2019 National Hockey League Draft. Of the WHL players attending, Cozens ranks as the top draft-eligible prospect, ranked third in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Krebs is ranked eighth among North American skaters. Also on the radar for the NHL Draft is Korczak, ranked 31st among North American skaters while Tracey is ranked 73rd. Gauthier is ranked fifth among North American goaltenders.
Of the 23 players on this year’s roster, eight won gold with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, including Cozens, Gauthier, Krebs, Korczak, and Schneider. Fourteen players also made their way onto the roster via participation in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, including Cozens, Gauthier, Krebs, Korczak, Schneider, and Tracey.
Garand and Hunt, who have also played at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, represent a pair of underage players selected to the roster in order to gain international experience.
In addition to the nine players, the WHL will be represented on the team staff by Alan Miller (Tottenham, Ont. / Moose Jaw Warriors) who is serving with the team’s management group, assistant coach Dave Struch (Flin Flon, Man. / Regina Pats), goaltending consultant Adam Brown (Kelowna, B.C. / Kelowna Rockets), and team physician Dr. Barry Wiens (Red Deer, Alta. / Red Deer Rebels).
“The initial list of players for the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship features a combination of skill and experience, with 21 of the 23 athletes having played internationally over the last two seasons,” said Brad McEwen, head scout for Hockey Canada. “Our players and staff are excited for the opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage, and we look forward to working towards our goal of bringing home a gold medal in Sweden.”
Over the next week, Hockey Canada and team staff will continue to monitor the Canadian Hockey League playoffs and can invite additional players to training camp before a final roster is named ahead of the tournament. Players will gather in Kisakallio from April 8-12 for five days of practice before heading to Sweden for two pre-tournament games – April 14 versus Belarus in Umeå and April 15 versus Russia in Örnsköldsvik.
Canada will look to claim gold for the first time since 2013 when it kicks off its tournament schedule against Finland on Thursday, April 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT. Canada will also match up against Switzerland, Belarus and the Czech Republic in the preliminary round before the tournament wraps up with the bronze and gold medal games on Sunday, April 28.
TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcast partners, will broadcast 15 games, including all of Team Canada’s match-ups at the IIHF U18 World Championship, all quarter-finals, both semifinals and the bronze and gold medal games.
Canada has won seven medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship, including three gold (2003, 2008, 2013), one silver (2005) and three bronze (2012, 2014, 2015).