And that was acknowledged on Wednesday in Calgary, Canada as Hockey Canada unveiled its list of 32 players who have been invited to compete for a spot on Canada’s National Junior Team.
McEwan was introduced as Hockey Canada’s head scout on July 31 of this year, mere days before the junior team’s annual summer development camp. Since then, he has worked tirelessly with his staff to scout and analyze Canada’s top talent and a milestone was met on Wednesday with the announcement of the selection camp roster.
And though the turnaround time has been tight, McEwan says much of the foundation was laid with the work done by others over the past few years.
“Our selection process is a body of work,” says McEwan. “It’s not from September to now. This is the first group to have gone through the new under-17 program. We have a real book of evaluations on these players. This didn’t just start in the summer. It has been ongoing for four years and we feel really comfortable with where we are. The players selected today understand what it is to represent our country, Hockey Canada and the leagues they play in and the meaning of that.”
McEwan referenced the evolution of Hockey Canada’s under-17 program. In 2013, it was announced that the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge would move from five Canadian teams to three. The format moved away from Canada’s teams being split by region and simply evolved to having three teams made up of players from throughout the country.
This year’s crop of Canadian world junior hopefuls is the first to have gone through the new-and-improved U17 model, which feeds Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team, which then moves build the National Junior Team.
Canada’s camp roster is led by seven returning players from the silver-medal winning 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship team: goaltender Carter Hart; defencemen Jake Bean, Kale Clague and Dante Fabbro; and, forwards Dillon Dube, Michael McLeod and Taylor Raddysh. Other notable players are defenceman Cale Makar (who was taken fourth overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2017 NHL Entry Draft) and forward Cody Glass (taken sixth overall by Las Vegas in 2017. There are 12 players on the roster who were taken in the first round of either the 2016 or 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Canada’s players and staff will head to St. Catharines on Dec. 11 for a four-day camp.
“Hockey at all levels across the country continues to produce talented and elite-level hockey players that makes our evaluation and selection process a difficult one,” says Shawn Bullock, Hockey Canada’s senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams. “With a talent pool as deep as we have in this country, we believe the 22 players eventually selected from camp will give us the best chance at bringing home a gold medal. We couldn’t be more excited for our staff and players to get together in St. Catharines and begin the journey.”
Of the 32 players, 28 make their home in the Canadian Hockey League, Canada’s top junior-aged league, while four others play college hockey in the United States (NCAA).
Canada will be looking to return to the top of the junior hockey world for the first time since 2015, when it won gold in Toronto. That was Canada’s first gold medal at the tournament since 2009, the year that capped five-straight golds for Canada at the World Juniors.
Since that run by Canada, the World Juniors have seen a stretch of parity, with five different countries winning gold between 2010 and 2017.
Canada’s selection camp will feature three exhibition games: two against a Canadian university team on Dec. 13 and 14, and one against Denmark on Dec. 15. Following the camp, Canada’s roster will be trimmed to 22 players who will play in two pre-tournament games in Canada (Dec. 20 vs Czech Republic in London and Dec. 22 vs Switzerland in Hamilton) before the tournament opens in Buffalo, New York on Dec. 26.
Canada faces Finland to open the 2018 IIHF World Juniors and also has preliminary-round games against Slovakia (Dec. 27), the United States (Dec. 29, which will be an outdoor game at Buffalo’s New Era Field, home of the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills), and Denmark (Dec. 30).
Article source: http://2018.worldjunior.hockey/en/news/cancamp/