Western Canada is the hockey hub for 2019.
The World Junior Summer Showcase kicks off in Kamloops, BC tomorrow and runs until August 4th. Normally this event is held in Plymouth, Michigan but I guess they figured why not shake things up.
Just two days later, the Ivan Hlinka Gretzky Cup will be played in Edmonton, AB. After that, it’s the 2019 World Junior Championships which are being held in Victoria and Vancouver during the holiday season. And finally, the NHL draft will be in Vancouver next June.
Hey who knows, maybe the Stanley Cup will swing through Western Canada next June too. Sorry I couldn’t say that with a straight face.
Back to the WJSS. Canada, USA, Finland and Sweden will descend upon Kamloops with their U20 players in tow. The kids will begin their journey to represent their home country at the largest junior hockey event in the world.
The Canadians are sending a grizzled group of veterans. Not a single draft-eligible player will don the red and white this week. Yet, if I’m a betting man, and we all know I am, I’d wager we see someone like Bowen Byram (2019) or Alexis Lafreniere (2020) earn an invitation to the main camp in December.
Team Canada will boast some recent lofty draft selections in Barrett Hayton (5th, 2018), Cody Glass (6th, 2017), Michael Rasmussen (9th, 2017), Gabe Vilardi (11th, 2017), Noah Dobson (12th, 2018), Nick Suzuki (13th, 2017), and Ty Smith (17th, 2018).
Both Canada and the USA will split squad their rosters to begin the tournament. Here are the splits for the Red, White and Blue