Toronto, ON. – Brandon Wheat Kings Jayce Hawryluk and John Quenneville are going overseas.
It appears that Hockey Canada plans to take 27 players to Europe this week, in preparation for the World Junior Hockey Championships in Finland. Of the 27, fifteen are forwards, which means two are expected to be released before the National Junior Team final roster is set. (FULL ROSTER BELOW)
A first round draft choice of the New Jersey Devils, Quenneville has thirteen goals and 33 points in 25 games this season while Floridan Panthers’ prospect Hawryluk has 33, including a team leading seventeen goals in 26 games.
Should one or both players make the final roster, they will wind up missing a total of eleven games with their WHL club.
Hockey Canada coaches Dave Lowry and Kelly McCrimmon did announce four cuts on Sunday but also received some welcome news late in the day when the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks gave forward Jake Virtanen permission to join the team.
The former Calgary Hitmen scoring star is one of four players returning from last year’s gold medal winning team, joining forwards Brayden Point and Lawson Crouse as well as defenceman Joe Hicketts. He’s the only member of Canada’s junior team with regular-season experience in the NHL.
Hawryluk and Quenneville, who played in this past weekend’s exhibition series against the CIS All Stars, are bidding to become the first Wheat Kings to play on Team Canada since Mark Stone scored seven goals and ten points for the bronze medal winning side in 2012.
Today is Media Day for the National Junior Team, which will arrive in Finland on Tuesday. The Canadians will play Belarus in their first of three exhibition games this Saturday.
Canada’s first game at the IIHF Championship is Boxing Day against the U.S.
Meanwhile closer to home, three Wheat Kings – Tanner Kaspick, Garrett Armour and James Shearer will be heading out to Glenboro Monday night as the hockey club hosts its December Minor Hockey Caravan visit.
In addition to skating with the pee wee Panthers, the Wheat Kings will be signing autographs and distributing complimentary tickets to a January home game, courtesy of this year’s Caravan sponsors Canadian Tire and McDonalds.
Armour, Kaspick, Shearer and the Wheat Kings will play their final pre-Christmas home game Wednesday night when the Kamloops Blazers pay their first visit to Brandon in nearly two years.
Wednesday is Rain Check Night, which means any unused ticket can be exchanged at the box office for a “free” ticket to this game (regular box office agency fees apply).
Here’s a look at the players that remain with Team Canada and will head overseas:
Mackenzie Blackwood Thunder Bay, Ont. Barrie (OHL) NJD ’15 (2, 42)
Mason McDonald Halifax, N.S. Charlottetown (QMJHL) CGY ’14 (2, 34)
Samuel Montembeault Bécancour, Que. Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL) FLA ’15 (3, 77)
Thomas Chabot Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Que. Saint John (QMJHL) OTT ’15 (1, 18)
Travis Dermott Newmarket, Ont. Erie (OHL) TOR ’15 (2, 34)
Haydn Fleury Carlyle, Sask. Red Deer (WHL) CAR ’14 (1, 7)
Joe Hicketts Kamloops, B.C. Victoria (WHL) DET ’14 (FA/JA)
Brandon Hickey Leduc, Alta. Boston University (HE) CGY ’14 (3, 64)
Noah Juulsen Abbotsford, B.C. Everett (WHL) MTL ’15 (1, 26)
Jérémy Lauzon Val-d’Or, Que. Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) BOS ’15 (2,52)
Roland McKeown Listowel, Ont. Kingston (OHL) CAR from LAK ’14 (2, 50)
Travis Sanheim Elkhorn, Man. Calgary (WHL) PHI ’14 (1, 17)
Mathew Barzal Coquitlam, B.C. Seattle (WHL) NYI ’15 (1, 16)
Anthony Beauvillier Sorel, Que. Shawinigan (QMJHL) NYI ’15 (1, 28)
Rourke Chartier Saskatoon, Sask. Kelowna (WHL) SJS ’14 (5, 149)
Lawson Crouse Mt. Brydges, Ont. Kingston (OHL) FLA ’15 (1, 11)
Julien Gauthier Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que. Val-d’Or (QMJHL) 2016 Draft
Jayce Hawryluk Roblin, Man. Brandon (WHL) FLA ’14 (2, 32)
Travis Konecny Clachan, Ont. Ottawa (OHL) PHI ’15 (1, 24)
Mitchell Marner Thornhill, Ont. London (OHL) TOR ‘15 (1, 4)
Nick Merkley Calgary, Alta. Kelowna (WHL) ARI ’15 (1, 30)
Brendan Perlini Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Niagara (OHL) ARI ’14 (1, 12)
Brayden Point Calgary, Alta. Moose Jaw (WHL) TBL ’14 (3, 79)
John Quenneville Edmonton, Alta. Brandon (WHL) NJD ’14 (1, 30)
Mitchell Stephens Peterborough, Ont. Saginaw (OHL) TBL ’15 (2, 33)
Dylan Strome Mississauga, Ont. Erie (OHL) ARI ’15 (1, 3)
Jake Virtanen New Westminster, BC. Vancouver (NHL) VAN ’14 (1, 6)