Team Canada arrives in Halifax for the world junior hockey tournament

Team Canada arrived in Halifax on Thursday afternoon and the players are making their final preparations for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

Canada will face Finland in the pre-tournament final on Friday night at the Scotiabank Center. Earlier this week at Moncton, the team slipped to two pre-tournament wins against Switzerland and Slovakia.

Canada will play their first qualifying match among the world’s youth against the Czech Republic on December 26 in Halifax. The Canadian player that most fans will follow closely is 17-year-old Connor Bedard.

The Regina Pats star, who has been designated by nearly every scout and analyst as the first overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft, will be playing a game in Nova Scotia for the first time. He has recorded five assists in his two games this week.

Bedard is on good terms with the captain of Team Canada

So far in pre-tournament games, Bedard has been in line with Shane Wright, the player many expected to be the first overall pick in the NHL draft last year.

Team Canada captain Shane Wright has five points in two world junior qualifying matches. (Ron Ward/Canadian Press)

Named to captain Canada, however, Wright finished fourth overall to the Seattle Kraken and struggled to get regular icing time with the team in the first two months of the NHL season. Like Bedard, Canada has five points in their two wins.

Canada is in a league with the Czech Republic, Sweden, Germany and Austria with all matches to be played in Halifax.

The other section includes the United States, Finland, Switzerland, Austria and Latvia. These matches will be played in Moncton.

All matches will be broadcast on TSN.

Sydney player remembers first gold medal win

Paul Boutilier of Sydney played in the 1982 and 1983 tournaments.

Canada won its first world junior gold medal at the 1982 tournament. The last game was played in Minnesota, and when it came time to play Canada’s national anthem, there were no records. O Canada.

Photo of the entire Canada Team posing in 1982.  There are three rows of players sitting in the front row.
Paul Boutilier of Sydney, middle row, second from left, played on Canada’s first team to win a gold medal in the world youth in 1982. (Hockey Canada Pictures)

The Canucks stood on the blue line with their arms crossed and sang the anthem on their own.

Since then, it has become a tradition to sing out loud when the Canadian youth team wins gold.

“There was no anthem because no one expected Canada to win,” Boutilier said. “I still feel very lucky to play on the team that won the first gold for Canada.”

Boutilier played in the world youth for Canada in the Soviet Union the next year. The Canadian team featured budding superstars Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman but finished third.

Boutilier continues to work as a defense development coach/mentor in hockey circles, and two of his clients, Ludvig Jansson of Sweden and David Reinbacker of Austria, will play for their home countries at the world junior tournament.

Local players appear regularly

Canada won the 2022 event, originally scheduled to be played in Russia, four months ago in Edmonton.

Canadian Mason McTavish is pictured protecting the nets during a match.
Canadian Mason McTavish, right, blocks the puck from going into the net during overtime against Finland in the 2022 world junior gold medal match. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

This time, two Halifax Mooseheads are playing in the tournament.

Halifax captain Atilio Biasca plays for Switzerland and Mooseheads defender David Moravec plays for the Czech Republic.

Several Nova Scots have played in world junior tournaments, including current NHL stars Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *