World Junior’s Selection Camp Roster

A weekly sports column for the 100 Mile Free Press

Canada has announced their 34-player training roster for the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship. By the end of the camp, the roster will be cut to 23.

The 34 players will battle it out from Dec. 10 to 14 to solidify the roster for the tournament, which will begin on Dec. 26.

As expected, it is a strong roster but only has two returnees from last year’s gold-winning team in Maxime Comtois, an Anaheim Ducks pick currently playing for Drummondville of the QMJHL and Alex Formenton, an Ottawa pick playing for the London Knights of the OHL.

However, British Columbians should keep an eye out for one of the prospective goalies.

Michael DiPietro might not play in or be from British Columbia but he was drafted by the Canucks in 2017. The 19-year-old goalie spent almost all four seasons of his junior hockey with the Waterloo Spitfires in Ontario. He was traded to the Ottawa 67’s on Dec. 4 of this year. In his junior career, he’s played 157 games in the OHL and won 86 of them. His GAA is 2.52.

If anyone is wondering why he was traded, it is because the Windsor Spitfires are rebuilding and he was one of the last veterans on the team to be dealt to become younger.

He brought Windsor Spitfires to Major Junior’s biggest prize, the Memorial Cup in 2017, and won it. He also holds the Spitfires franchise record for most wins. Some other accolades he has been awarded with the Memorial Cup’s Most Outstanding Goaltender and the tournament’s all-star team.

In the 2016-17 season, he also had the most shutouts (six). DiPietro will most likely be Canada’s starting goalie for this year’s tournament, barring any injuries.

He was drafted in the third round (64th overall) in 2017. Vancouver signed him to an entry-level contract in May and will most likely play in the AHL next year. He is projected to be the team’s backup goalie behind Thatcher Demko in the future.

Unfortunately, not a single player on the training roster was born in B.C. or play on a B.C. team in the Western Hockey League. Only DiPietro has any ties to British Columbia due to being drafted by Vancouver.

However, three other players are draft eligible in 2019 and 2020, so it could be worth keeping tabs on them.

Forwards Raphaël Lavoie and Brett Leason are eligible for selection in 2019. Lavoie will be picked somewhere within the top ten, while Leason can be anywhere from the late first round to the second round. Of course, if he makes the team his stock will rise.

Alexis Lafrenière will be one of the prizes of the 2020 Entry Level Draft, so everyone should watch Rimouski Oceanic’s next generational superstar (the first one being Sidney Crosby).

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