Training camp ramps up in Kamloops as the schedule for the IIHF 2019 World Junior Championships in Vancouver and Victoria is released. (Twitter/HC_WJC)

Schedule released for world junior hockey championship in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria ready to host, as Canada conducts training camp in Kamloops

Canada will have the home ice advantage when they open the 2019 World Junior Championships against Denmark on Boxing Day.

The full schedule of games to be played in Vancouver and Victoria was released this week by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), finalizing the details that hockey fans and ticket holders have been waiting for.

Group A games will be played at Rogers Arena in Vancouver and includes the home nation, along with Russia, Denmark, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.

Group B games will be played at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria with the United States , Slovakia, Sweden, Finland and newly promoted Kazakhstan. The full schedule is available here.

“The announcement of the tournament schedule is another indication of how close we are to puck-drop on Boxing Day,” said tournament director Riley Wiwchar, in a release from the IIHF.

“Excitement has been building for months in the province, and that now extends across the country and around the world as fans get set to enjoy some of the best international hockey the world has to offer.”

The group stage will take place between Dec. 26-31 in both cities with the top four teams of each group advancing to the quarter-finals, also played in both cities. But from the semi-finals on to the gold medal game Jan. 5 will all be played in Vancouver.

Ticket packages are still available for both cities.

New coach for Team Canada

The young men vying for a spot on Canada’s junior hockey team know their coach’s storied legacy.

They know Tim Hunter spent 15 seasons playing in the NHL as an enforcer in Calgary, Quebec, Vancouver and San Jose. They know he won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, an entire decade before any of them were born.

And they know Hunter’s now sharing his experience with young players, working to shape the next generation of hockey greats.

“We all know his history and what he did for the game. So it’s really nice to have him behind the bench. He gives great advice for young players, just how to develop and feel comfortable out there,” said Antoine Morand, a forward who’s hoping to make Canada’s squad this winter.

The 57-year-old Calgarian was named head coach of the team last month after being an assistant coach with the squads that took home silver from the 2017 world junior hockey championship and gold from the 2018 tournament. This week, the new role has him in Kamloops, B.C., where Canada is taking part in the world junior hockey showcase.

“Any time you’re involved with Hockey Canada, it’s a real honour and a real thrill,” Hunter said of the promotion.

The Canadians lost only one game in last year’s tournament, dropping a preliminary match against the U.S. 4-3 in a shootout. They have won gold 17 times in the 42-year history of the world men’s under-20 championship.

Training camp begins in Kamloops

Alex Formenton and Maxime Comtois know what it takes to capture world junior hockey gold and now they’re sharing their wisdom with a whole new squad.

Both of the young forwards were part of the Canadian team that captured the championship in Buffalo, N.Y., last January and both of them keep their championship rings next to their beds.

“Every time I wake up, I just want to be better than I was the day before,” Comtois said Monday in Kamloops, where he’s on the Canadian roster at this summer’s world junior showcase.

Canada has 39 players at the event, a group that will eventually be whittled down to the team playing in the annual world junior tournament in Vancouver and Victoria this winter.

Comtois and Formenton are the only ones at the showcase who were also part of last year’s gold medal-winning group. St. Louis Blues prospect Robert Thomas was invited, but is reportedly recovering from an ankle injury.

The young men playing for Team Canada at the showcase hail from across the country, from South Surrey, to Summerside, P.E.I. But many have played together previously, in development camps, junior hockey clubs and university teams.

The tight-knit bond of last year’s squad was evident to Morgan Frost, even as the centre watched at home.

“You could just kind of tell,” he said. ”They had such good chemistry on the ice and they wore teams down, they worked hard and they played for each other.”

Defenceman Ty Smith saw a high-speed, physical game as he watched last year. Being part of that action is something he’s wanted since childhood.

“(Playing in the world juniors) is kind of something that you always dream about as a kid. I watch it every year on TV at Christmas time,” he said.

Smith and Frost said they’ve both had other players tell them how special the experience is, and believe playing on Canadian soil will only amplify that feeling.

With files from the Canadian Press



ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Rain doesn’t stop dragon boat races at Sproat Lake

12 teams from across Vancouver Island took part

Father and son duo win Iron Man tournament at Alberni Golf Course

Forty men teed it up for the Iron Man tournament on Sunday

EDITORIAL: Issues, not pettiness, must drive election

Who do you trust? Is that what the latest federal election is going to chalk up to?

BIZ BEAT: Alberni Chamber of Commerce to host women in business forum

Jowsey’s partners with WCGH Foundation for fundraiser

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

Most Read