Dylan Strome.

5 Things: Canada aiming for return at world junior glory on home ice

Canada last won the world juniors in 2014 in Toronto for its 16th title.

Canada is aiming to return to the top of junior hockey on Dec. 26 when it takes on Russia to begin preliminary round play at the world junior hockey championship.

The Canadians lost to eventual champion Finland at last year’s tournament in Helsinki. Canada last won the world juniors in 2015 in Toronto for its 16th title.

Here’s five things to know ahead of this year’s event:

Home ice advantage

The Canadians have medalled in all 11 world juniors held in Canada since the tournament began in 1977– including five golds.

Their most recent appearance on home ice was in 2015 when they held on to beat Russia at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Canada is in Group B with the Russians, United States, Slovakia and Latvia in this year’s event and plays all of its preliminary round games in Toronto with Group A playing out of Montreal. Aside from two quarter-final games in Toronto, the medal round will be hosted at Bell Centre in Montreal.

Captain Strome

Five players from last year’s roster will return for the Canadians, including captain Dylan Strome.

Strome, from nearby Mississauga, Ont., scored four goals and two assists in five games during the 2016 edition of the tournament. The six-foot-three, 194 pound centre was drafted third overall in the 2015 NHL draft by the Arizona Coyotes.

The 19-year-old played seven games this season with the Coyotes, collecting one assist, before they returned him to the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League.

Also returning to the team are assistant captains Mathew Barzal, a New York Islanders prospect, and Thomas Chabot, an Ottawa Senators draft pick. Julien Gauthier and Mitchell Stephens round out the five returnees.

Between the pipes

Carter Hart and Connor Ingram will be in net for Canada at this year’s tournament.

Goaltending was detrimental for the Canadians at last year’s world juniors, with their combined 3.58 goals-against average and .859 save percentage ranking amongst some of the worst at the event.

Hart and Ingram are two of the top goaltenders in the Western Hockey League this season. Hart, of the Everett Silvertips, leads the league in goals-against average at 1.85 while Ingram, of the Kamloops Blazers, is in third at 2.12. Ingram leads the duo in save percentage at .935 and Hart is a close second at .928. Hart also has four shutouts.

Both goaltenders have been solid throughout pre-tournament play with Hart collecting a 25-save shutout in a 5-0 win over Finland and Ingram making 21 saves in a 5-0 shutout against the Czech Republic.

Head coach Dominique Ducharme has yet to tip his hand as to who will start for Canada against Russia.

Ducharme the charm?

Ducharme will be behind the Canadians’ bench as head coach for the first time, although was an assistant on the 2016 squad in Helsinki.

The 43-year-old won gold with Canada’s under-18 team at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka tournament and also captured a Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads earlier that year.

Ducharme, who is currently the head coach and general manager of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, is assisted by Tim Hunter, Kris Knoblauch and Misha Donskov.

The Canadian head coach says that he has a good skating team and that there’s good chemistry between the players, despite only playing together for two weeks.

Defensive Duties

Chabot is the only returning defenceman for Canada this year and is expected to play some big minutes on the blue line.

The 19-year-old from Sainte-Marie, Que., started the season with the Senators before being returned to the Saint John Sea Dogs. Chabot has five goals and 15 assists through 14 games with Saint John, which is tops in the QMJHL and ranked No. 5 in the country.

Also on defence is Montreal Canadiens prospect Noah Juulsen, who was taken in the first round of the 2015 draft, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies duo Jeremy Lauzon and Philippe Myers and Dante Fabbro of Boston University.

Jake Bean of the Calgary Hitmen and Kale Clague of the Brandon Wheat Kings round out the defensive corps. Myers is the only defenceman that hasn’t been drafted by an NHL club.

 

 

 

Ryan McKenna, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Langley rower takes silver at Lucerne, Switzerland

Andrea Proske quit a good job to take up the sport at a relatively late age. It worked out.

14-year-old pilot attempts to break Guinness World Record at Langley airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab wants to become youngest pilot with fewest hours logged to fly solo

VIDEO: City of Langley orders road closed due to gas line break (updated)

Public asked to avoid area of 198 Street, between 55 and 56 Avenues

Lower Mainland cools down as heat wave lifts

Environment Canada predicts temperatures in the mid to low 20s

Educational videos for rodeo athletes address concussions, mental health

Ty Pozzobon Foundation, Canadian Pro Sports Medicine Team produce series

Stolen sunshade puts damper on Lower Mainland woman’s pet-relief effort

Broken umbrella taken from White Rock lawn ‘within 10 minutes’

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Teen killed by train remembered for his love

Friends and family share stories of young Crescent Beach train victim

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Most Read