Boxing Day in Montreal will mark the start of another Christmas tradition as Team Canada hits the ice for its opening game of the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Hockey Canada has announced the 22-man roster that will begin its quest for gold against Slovakia.
Among the two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards are seven players returning from last year’s team that finished fourth: Zach Fucale (G), Frederik Gauthier (F), Curtis Lazar (F), Connor McDavid (F), Josh Morrissey (D), Nic Petan (F) and Sam Reinhart (F).
The captain will be Lazar, who was loaned to the team by the Ottawa Senators and is one of two NHLers on the squad along with New York Ranger Anthony Duclair. Lazar’s assistants will be McDavid and Reinhart.
This will not be the first tournament at which most of these players have worn the maple leaf, as 21 of them have international experience, including 20 with the national under-18 program. Nine players won gold at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Sochi, which served as an official test event for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The team has already begun to gel in the *RBC Road to the World Juniors, a series of pre-tournament games. After a 2-1 overtime loss to Russia on December 19, the team rebounded with a 5-2 win over Sweden on December 21 in Ottawa. Canada’s final game of the series is December 23 against Switzerland in Montreal.
Fourth at the last two World Juniors, Canada is seeking its first gold medal since 2009.
2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship – Team Canada:
1 Eric Comrie (Edmonton, AB)
31 Zach Fucale (Rosemere, QC)
2 Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, BC)
3 Dillon Heatherington (Calgary, AB)
4 Madison Bowey (Winnipeg, MB)
5 Samuel Morin (St-Henri, QC)
6 Shea Theodore (Aldergrove, BC)
7 Josh Morrissey (Calgary, AB)
25 Darnell Nurse (Hamilton, ON)
9 Brayden Point (Calgary, AB)
10 Anthony Duclair (Laval, QC)
16 Max Domi (Toronto, ON)
17 Connor McDavid (Newmarket, ON)
18 Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, BC)
19 Nic Petan (Delta, BC)
20 Nick Paul (Mississauga, ON)
21 Nick Ritchie (Orangeville, ON)
22 Frederik Gauthier (St-Lin-Laurentides, QC)
23 Sam Reinhart (West Vancouver, BC)
26 Curtis Lazar (Vernon, BC)
28 Lawson Crouse (Mount Brydges, ON)
29 Robby Fabbri (Mississauga, ON)
*Leading up to the RBC Road to the World Juniors, RBC delivered Learn to Skate programs in each of the eight host communities. Children from these RBC Learn to Skate programs will have the chance to go out on the ice during the RBC Road to the World Juniors games to demonstrate their newly-learned skating skills.