Thursday, December 15, 2016
TEAM CANADA CUTS SAM STEEL, FOUR OTHERS
Goaltender Michael McNiven of the Owen Sound Attack, defencemen Guillaume Brisebois of the Charlottetown Islanders and Samuel Girard of the Shawinigan Cataractes, and forwards Sam Steel of the Regina Pats and Zach Senyshyn of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds got the bad news from Hockey Canada brass shortly after the team's 8-0 victory over the Czech Republic in a pre-tournament game.
"It's always difficult, especially this year and especially after this game - those guys pushed it down to the wire,'' said coach Dominique Ducharme. "The part that's not fun is to meet the five guys and tell them they didn't make it, but we're really happy with the 22 guys we have and we look forward to moving ahead with those guys.''
There were 31 players when the team selection camp opened on Sunday. Four were cut on Tuesday - defenceman Victor Mete of the London Knights and forwards Brett Howden of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Nick Merkley of the Kelowna Rockets and Austin Wagner of the Pats.
The final roster for the Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 tournament in Toronto and Montreal has two goalies, seven defencemen and 13 forwards.
The surprise cut was Girard, a skilled, attacking rearguard who looked good in camp.
"I think it was a question of fit for them,'' said Girard, a Nashville Predators second-round draft pick who should get another chance to make the world junior squad next year. `"I'll go back to my junior team and perform there and be ready for next year.''
McNiven was in tough from the beginning, but made it a close battle with Carter Hart and Connor Ingram for the two goaltending jobs.
"I was the underdog but other than the first game I was pretty impressed with myself,'' said McNiven, a Montreal Canadiens prospect. "I just hope the boys have a good time and bring home gold.''
Senyshyn, picked 15th overall by Boston in 2015, said he was disappointed but ``I got to play with a lot of incredible players. I won't forget the experience.''
Steel, picked 30th overall by Anaheim in June, looks forward to getting another chance to make the team next season.
"It's tough now but I'm sure I'll get through it and hopefully learn from it,'' said Steel. "I thought I played a decent game, but there a lot of good players here.''