The Team Canada roster was announced for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships in Calgary and Edmonton on Wednesday.
Mark Pysyk, a 19 year-old defenceman for the Edmonton Oil Kings, from Sherwood Park, Alberta is the only Alberta native on the roster and only player currently playing on an Alberta based junior team . Pysyk, was Buffalo’s 1st round draft pick, 23rd overall in the 2010 draft. So far this season, he has two goals and 16 assists in 25 games played in the Western Hockey League.
Other notables are four returning players–forwards Brett Connolly, Quinton Howden and Jaden Schwartz and goaltender Mark Visentin.
Connolly is one of two players currently playing in the National Hockey League that made Team Canada. So far this season, he has four goals and four assists with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The other NHL player is Devante Smith-Pelly, who has three goals and two assists in 26 games with the Anaheim Ducks.
Howden is the leading scorer on the Moose Jaw Warriors with 29 points in 20 games, while Schwartz leads Colorado College with 13 assists. You might remember Jaden Schwartz’s sister Mandi who made headlines a year ago. Mandi, a top prospect in Canadian women’s hockey and member of Yale University’s women’s hockey team, was cheering on her brother while battling a serious form of leukemia. Sadly, she passed away in April.
Visentin, a member of the Niagara IceDogs, was terrible in the third period of the Gold medal game of the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, when he gave up five goals in 20 minutes of a 5-3 Canada loss to Russia. Don’t be surprised if Scott Wedgewood, a draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, and a member of the Plymouth Whalers, gets the starting nod in net because of Visentin’s poor play.
Other notable players who made Team Canada are Jonathan Huberdeau, the 2011 Memorial Cup Most Valuable Player with the Saint John Sea Dogs, who was drafted third overall by the Florida Panthers, Mark Schiefele of the Barrie Colts, who began the year with the Winnipeg Jets after Winnipeg drafted him with the seventh overall pick, Brandon Wheat King forward Mark Stone, a draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, who leads the WHL with 65 points in 33 games, and Barrie Colts forward Tanner Pearson, who could be drafted high in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and leads the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 40 assists and 66 points.
Tags: brett connolly, devante smith-pelly, jaden schwartz, jonathan huberdeau, Mark Pysyk, mark schiefele, mark stone, mark visentin, quinton howden, scott wedgewood, tanner pearson, world junior hockey championships