The New York Rangers won't be releasing forward Alexis Lafreniere to Team Canada for the World Junior Championship.

“After ongoing discussions with the New York Rangers, Hockey Canada has been informed that Alexis Lafrenière will not be released to represent Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton. Although we are disappointed Alexis will not be able to join our team for World Juniors, we understand and respect the decision made by the Rangers," Hockey Canada said in a statement.

As TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported earlier on Thursday prior to the statement, the Rangers want Lafreniere to continue to train locally and focus on his first NHL training camp.  

Lafreniere was drafted first overall by New York in this year's NHL Draft. He helped lead Canada to the gold medal at the 2020 World Junior Championship in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic where he was named tournament MVP, best forward and named to the media All-Star team with four goals and 10 points in five games.

For more on Lafreniere's World Junior absence, click here to watch Insider Trading.