Young players lead Team Canada into World Hockey Championship

The 2014 World Hockey Championship begins on Friday in Minsk, Belarus. Instead of established NHL superstars, this year’s Canadian team will be led by a bundle of young talent.

The Leafs’ Morgan Rielly is 20. At 19, Sean Monahan was welcome life for the re-building Flames. Nathan MacKinnon is 18 and plays like he is years older. In fact, over half the team is 24 or younger with the average age around 25.4 years.

Morgan Rielly

Team Canada did turn to their veterans for leadership roles, making 32-year-old Kevin Bieksa captain, with 35-year-old Jason Chimera an alternate. Kyle Turris earned the second alternate spot, at 24.

The current line-up is:

Goalies: Ben Scrivens, James Reimer and Justin Peters

Defense: Marc Methot, Ryan Ellis, Jason Garrison, Kevin Bieksa, Morgan Rielly, Erik Gudbranson and Tyler Myers.

Forwards: Kyle Turris, Brayden Schenn, Jonathan Huberdeau, Alex Burrows, Cody Hodgson, Troy Brouwer, Matt Read, Sean Monahan, Jason Chimera, Nathan MacKinnon, Joel Ward, Nazem Kadri and Mark Scheifele.

Canada’s best competition may come from the Americans, Swedes and Czechs. Of note, Latvia is in the tournament complete with Sochi goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, Italy and Kazakhstan are also present.

Here are the current rosters for the rest of the world.

SEE ALSO: Hockey Worlds: Dave Tippett head coach, 20 players announced

Canada’s last gold medal was in 2007, and they have won two silvers since, (2008, 2009). In the last four years, Canada has been kept off the podium. Sweden is the defending champion.

Canada is in Group A with Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, France and Italy. They will need to be top-4 in order to advance to the quarterfinals. At the end of the preliminary round, the top team in Group A will play the 4th place team in Group B. 2A versus 3B and so on.

Naturally, each team plays each other squad once. Three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime win, one point for an OT-loss and nada if you lose in 60 minutes.

Canada’s TV schedule

Friday, May 9 vs. France on TSN 9:30 am ET / 6:30 am PT
Saturday, May 10 vs. Slovakia on TSN 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT
Monday, May 12 vs. Czech Republic on TSN 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT
Thursday, May 15 vs. Denmark on TSN 9:30 am ET / 6:30 am PT
Friday, May 16 vs. Italy on TSN 9:30 am ET / 6:30 am PT
Sunday, May 18 vs. Sweden on TSN 9:30 am ET / 6:30 am PT
Tuesday, May 20 vs. Norway on TSN 5:30 am ET / 2:30 am PT
Thursday, May 22 Quarterfinals TBD
Saturday, May 24 Semifinals TBD
Sunday, May 25 Bronze / Gold TBD

Full tournament schedule can be found here.