CALGARY, Alta. – The Canadian roster is set for the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games, Feb. 12-21, 2016 in Lillehammer, Norway.
Canada’s 17-player roster includes two goaltenders, six defencemen and nine forwards, and was selected in accordance with the Youth Olympic Games’ process.
The players, born in 2000, were chosen by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel, with support from regional scouts, Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Barclay Branch (Ontario), Wade Klippenstein (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic), and Darrell Woodley (Ontario).
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the group of players chosen to represent Canada to compete at the highest level in international competition,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams. “This event is a unique experience unlike any other, and will be something that our athletes learn from and remember for a lifetime.”
Players were selected based on their permanent home residence, and players playing outside of Canada were not considered in the evaluation process. All regions (East, Ontario, and West) were ensured five players on the final Canadian roster, with the remaining two spots being awarded to the next-best players.
On Sept. 15, 2015, regional scouts submitted a long list of 125 players to be considered, before narrowing it down to approximately 60 players whose names were submitted to the Canadian Olympic Committee on Oct. 1, 2015. From Oct. 1, 2015 to Jan. 1, 2016, regional scouts evaluated players in regular season and tournament play and the final Canadian roster was compiled on Jan. 3.
The men’s hockey tournament features five countries – Canada, Finland, Norway, Russia, and the United States – who will play in a round-robin format before semifinals and the gold-medal game. After capturing the bronze medal in 2012, Canada opens on Feb. 13 against Russia, and will also face Finland, Norway and the United States during preliminary-round play.
The 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games will also feature the Men’s Skills Challenge, where players will be able to showcase their shooting accuracy, puck-control, and skating agility. Carson Focht (Regina, Sask./Regina, SMAAAHL) has been selected to represent Canada in the challenge, which features 16 athletes from different national Olympic committees paired in head-to-head heats for points.