First off, of course, is who selected the squad. Soon-to-be former Moose Jaw Warriors general manager Alan Millar put together the roster of 25 players who will take the ice in Frisco and Plano, Texas beginning Apr. 26. It’s his first official team since being named the Hockey Canada director of player personnel last month.
Millar will be very familiar with one of the team’s coaches, too. Former Warriors bench boss Mike Stothers, who led the Tribe from 2011 through 2014 before taking over the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League will serve as an assistant. Former San Jose Sharks assistant coach Dave Barr is the head coach and Gordie Dwyer, head coach of the QMJHL Shawinigan Cataractes in 2019-20, is the other assistant.
The connections don’t stop with Millar and Stothers, as Warriors and Prairie Hockey Academy goaltending coach Matt Weninger will serve the same role with Team Canada.
“We are excited to announce the 25 players that have been selected to wear the Maple Leaf at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship. Despite a difficult year for our players and staff, we are confident this group will represent our country with pride while giving us a chance to compete for a gold medal in Texas,” said Millar in the press release announcing the team. “We are also pleased to have Dave, Mike and Gordie as a part of our coaching staff, and to welcome a number of excellent support staff who bring unique skills to our team. We know the extensive experience of our coaching staff and the dedication of our support staff will greatly benefit our team at the world championship.
Former Warriors prospect Corson Ceulemans, who was selected 100th overall by the Warriors in the 2018 Bantam Draft but chose the NCAA route and is now ranked as high as 14th for the upcoming NHL Draft, is one of the team’s defencemen.
Regina Pats 15-year-old sensation Connor Bedard was also named to the roster and as a result will play his final game in the WHL’s East Division Hub on April 9. He is currently the WHL scoring leader with eight goals and 19 points in 10 games.
Players will self-isolate at home beginning Apr. 12, travel to Frisco on Apr. 17 and enter another four-day quarantine before starting their pre-tournament camp on Apr. 21. Their lone pre-tournament game will be against Finland on Apr. 24.
Canada opens the tournament on Apr. 26 against Sweden and will play Latvia, Switzerland and Belarus in round robin action.
For more information on Team Canada and to follow them through the tournament, visit HockeyCanada.ca.