With the Holiday season quickly approaching, it can only mean that one of Canada's great sporting traditions is right around the corner. The IIHF World Junior Championship has been a staple of the holidays amongst Canadians for
However, many of the players wearing the maple leaf first represented their Province or Territory at the Canada Games.
"Many players that go on to play for Canada at the World Juniors are Canada Games alumni" says Tom Quinn, Canada Games Council Chairman. "The Canada Games are a proven stepping stone to future success at the World Juniors, and even the Olympics. Names like Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya, Jay Bouwmeester, Sidney Crosby and Alex Pietrangelo have all used the magical experience they obtained at the Canada Games to propel themselves to international competition at the World Juniors and
at the Olympics."
An impressive 64% of this year's team competing at the World Juniors are Canada Games alumni. Among them is Curtis Lazar, this year's captain, who was widely considered as one of Team Canada's best players at last year's tournament.
"The Canada Winter Games was an event I will never forget. It was my first opportunity to compete at a provincial level and to represent my province in national competition." says Curtis Lazar. "The Canada Games allowed me to see how I matched up against my peers and really put me in a great spot moving forward in my hockey development. It was the start of my competitive hockey career and has led me to chase my dream of playing in the NHL which I have recently achieved."
Another member of the team is Josh Morrissey, an offensive defenseman who helped team Alberta capture a bronze medal at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax. He is another returnee to team Canada and will look to build on the experience he gained last year to help the team win Gold on home soil.
"The Canada Winter Games was an unbelievable experience that I'll never forget. As a young athlete having the chance to experience the highest competition on the biggeststage was really exciting" says Josh Morrissey. "It was also my first opportunity to see
the best players of my age group throughout Canada and compete against them. It was an unparalleled experience for me that I will never forget and will cherish forever."
Here is a look at the 14 Canada Games alumni that are part Team Canada's 22 man roster.
Curtis Lazar, Team BC
Max Domi, Team Ontario
Anthony Duclair, Team Quebec
Nick Ritchie, Team Ontario
Frederik Gauthier, Team Quebec
Nic Petan, Team BC
Sam Reinhart, Team BC
Josh Morrissey, Team Alberta
Darnell Nurse, Team Ontario
Dillon Heatherington, Team Alberta
Samuel Morin, Team Quebec
Shea Theodore, Team BC
Madison Bowey, Team Manitoba
Eric Comrie, Team Alberta