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TSN Hockey Reporter Mark Masters reports on the World Junior Hockey Championship. Team Canada practised on Saturday at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, Alta. 

On Team Canada's stacked roster nobody scored more last season than Jack Quinn who potted a whopping 52 goals in 62 games with the Ottawa 67's. And yet Quinn had never been invited to a Hockey Canada event before the World Junior selection camp. As a result, Team Canada head coach Andre Tourigny felt Quinn was trying too hard to prove himself early on. 

"A little nervous right off the bat not knowing a lot of guys," Quinn admitted, "but I think I settled in and got better as the camp went on and got a lot more comfortable with all the boys. It was a good transition and got better each day."

Quinn credits Tourigny, who also coaches him in Ottawa, for helping unlock his potential. Tourigny pushed Quinn, who scored just 12 goals in the 2018-19 season, to get to the inside of the ice more. As the goals piled up last season, the Cobden, Ont. native started to believe the World Juniors was a realistic possibility.  

"I wasn't invited to the [summer] camp and then I started to kind of have a big year and be a big player for the 67's and watching the World Juniors last year, in my mind, I knew I wanted to be there the following year."

Now that he's here, Quinn isn't satisfied with just being on the team. He wants to make a big splash in his international debut. ​

"I think I can be a big offensive player for this team. Wherever I play in the lineup I want to be able to drive the bus on my line and make plays and be a goal scorer."

In the first two practices following the final cuts, Quinn has been promoted to Canada's top line skating on left wing with centre Dylan Cozens and Kirby Dach. 

"They both want the puck a lot and I try to complement them and get into open spots and be a bit of a shooter for them," Quinn said. "It's only been a couple days, but so far it's a lot of fun."

Quinn's prominent role is evidence of both his talent and the trust built up with Tourigny. 

"He can do a lot of things on the ice," Tourigny said. "He can throw his body around. He competes defensively. Obviously, can score goals, but he can make plays as well. He goes in tough areas. He plays the game in the right way. He plays the game hard and a lot of credit to Quinner and his character. He's really driven and competes hard every day and I love that stuff."

Last year, London's Liam Foudy and Connor McMichael delivered big performances for Team Canada at the World Juniors while playing for Dale Hunter, also their coach with the Knights.

"The systems that Andre is preaching here are the ones we do in Ottawa so I kind of know them from doing them the last couple of years," Quinn said. "I don't have to think too much so the advantage might be there a bit. What he demands from his players, a lot of hard work, a lot of intensity on the ice, all those habits I've learned before."


Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Justin Barron played in just 34 games last season after a blood clot sidelined him for three months. But he never lost faith that his World Junior dream would come true. 

"It was a goal of mine, even last year, to play on that team," the Colorado Avalanche first rounder said, "but with the blood clot and everything I didn't even get a chance to compete for a spot."

Barron needed off-season surgery to repair the issue and the procedure was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing him to miss the start of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. He was able to get into eight games before leaving for Hockey Canada's selection camp.  ​

"Getting those games under my belt earlier this year in Halifax, it gave me the confidence I kind of needed to come into camp and have an impact and crack a spot on the roster," the 19-year-old said. 

Barron was on Canada's roster at the World Junior Showcase in the summer of 2019, which also contributed to his comfort level on the ice in Red Deer. 

"I had a bit of an idea of what to expect and what the camps are like and playing with an older group of guys," he said. 

Barron, who has made improving offensively a priority this season, scored three goals in four intra-squad scrimmages. 


"Really good skater," observed Tourigny. "Moves the puck well. Has a lot of poise, can defend well and I think here at the camp he was really good. He was paired with [Kaiden] Guhle all the way through and they were rock solid for us."

"He's really easy to play with," said Guhle, a Canadiens first rounder. "He's always open, always there for support and he's always talking loud. Something about us just clicked." 

Guhle, 6-foot-3, said he has also developed some chemistry with the 6-foot-2 Barron off the ice. 

"We're both pretty big D, who can skate pretty well and think the game fast," Barron said. "I think in that sense we play a similar style and we're able to complement each other really well."  


On a team with 20 first-round picks, Jordan Spence is bucking the trend. The Moncton Wildcats defenceman was selected in the fourth round, 95th overall, by the Los Angeles Kings at the 2019 draft. He's the lowest pick among all the skaters on Canada's roster. 

"I had to fight for my spot with this team," he said. "There's a lot of good players who tried out for this team so, for me, I just wanted to showcase my skill ... I took every game as serious as possible and left it all out there." 

Spence, who was passed over in his first year of eligibility for the QMJHL draft, didn't have the same pedigree as other contenders, but he did have games played this season. 

"Obviously there's an advantage to that and we were fortunate with the QMJHL starting in October," he said. "Playing 13 games really helped and I got comfortable on the ice with puck handling and all the skills. Coming into camp I was confident and comfortable with how I had been playing."

Spence was the QMJHL's defenceman of the year last season and carried that momentum into this year posting 16 points in the 13 games. Nobody on Team Canada's roster has played more or scored more this season. 

Like his peers, Spence grew up dreaming of playing at the World Juniors, but unlike his teammates that dream started in Japan. His mother, Kyoko, is Japanese, and his dad, Adam, is Canadian. 

"For me, it just started in Japan when I was a kid watching World Juniors every year with my dad so that's always been a dream of mine," he said. 

Spence's family moved to Prince Edward Island when he was a teenager. 

"I'm from PEI, a small island, so I'm going to represent them well," he said with pride. "I'm really fortunate to make this team." 


Team USA learned on Saturday that the Maple Leafs would not be releasing winger Nick Robertson for the World Juniors. 

"This was a hockey decision by the Toronto Maple Leafs," said general manager John Vanbiesbrouck. "I think we can all respect hockey decisions and they wanted Nick to be ready for the start of their camp." 

Nothing is official yet, but NHL camps appear on track to open in early January. The World Juniors, meanwhile, don't end until Jan. 5. 

"We went down this road to have him as a possibility and then it looks like there's some hard dates coming back," Vanbiesbrouck said. "There's been a lot of discussion that we're not privy to between the NHL and the [Players' Association] ... The other piece is the qua​rantining and the Ontario rules."

Robertson would have likely had to serve a seven-day quarantine upon returning from Edmonton. 

Robertson produced five points in five games at the World Juniors last year. He played in four games with Toronto during the NHL playoffs, scoring one goal. 


With Robertson out, Team USA will lean even more on Wisconsin winger Cole Caufield for offence. The Montreal Canadiens prospect has been a stand-out performer at the team's training camp in Plymouth, Michigan this week. 

"I think he's getting the puck off a lot quicker from the film I saw last year," observed head coach Nate Leaman. "I like his motor right now. I like him hunting down loose pucks. I like him just overall playing faster. It's his second time through and I think he realizes now how hard the tournament is and that the preparation he puts in now and the effort he puts in now is what's going to lead to him having success at the tournament."

On defence, Leaman plans to let Jake Sanderson, Ottawa's fifth overall pick in October's draft, play big minutes in his World Junior debut. 

"He's going to have a big role within our group, because he does everything well," said Leaman. "You can't look at Jake and say there's a glaring weakness in his game whatsoever so I would expect for Jake to log a lot of minutes for our defensive core ... We also want to make sure he doesn't wear down or anything but, I'll tell you this, it's hard to keep him off the ice.​"


Team USA had to make a last minute roster shuffle after a positive COVID test was reported on Saturday morning. The Boston Globe spoke with the father of John Beecher who confirmed the Michigan forward tested positive and then left camp along with his roommate Thomas Bordeleau. Both were ineligible to travel to the Edmonton bubble. 

"They were crushed," said Vanbiesbrouck. "Due to the circumstances that were presented early this morning and the requirements of us having to get our list in, there was no way to mitigate the circumstances."

USA Hockey had planned to take 14 forwards and eight defencemen to the World Juniors, but switched to 13 and nine after learning the news.

"This isn't optimal, but we're up against really strict protocols,"​ Vanbiesbrouck said.


Lines at Saturday's Team Canada practice: 

Quinn - Cozens - Dach

Perfetti - McMichael - Krebs 

Zary - Byfield - Tomasino

Holloway - Newhook - Pelletier 

Suzuki, Mercer


Byram - Drysdale

Harley - Korczak

Guhle - Barron 

Schneider (R) - Spence


Garand, Gauthier, Levi