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

Lost Dog fire 90 per cent contained

BC Wildfire Service is reporting this morning that the Lost Dog complex… Continue reading

Planned ignition on Meachen Creek fire went ahead Sunday

Cool temperatures, higher humidiy helping efforts

Meachen Creek fire sees minimal growth overnight

Winds have pushed the fire back into itself in the lower part of the Meachen Creek drainage.

New ambulance unit chief has roots in Creston

Blake Elford is returning to Creston to take on the position of Unit Chief for Creston’s ambulance service.

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

Puppies picked up by BC Wildfire crew to be returned to family

They were just leaving the Monashee Complex of fires when they found the cutest creatures.

At least 14 illegal fires set in Fraser Valley this month

Conservation officers are fed up with people not listening to the province-wide fire ban

Cranbrook cyclist nabs another World Cup gold

Local athlete takes the top spot on the podium after World Cup road race in Quebec

B.C. woman promoting ‘orange glow’ campaign to support firefighters

A Penticton woman is hoping an orange ribbon campaign will catch on throughout B.C.

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program

The deal would acquire the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc

Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms

Evidence found of Russian hacking attempts targeting U.S. political groups

Animal crackers break free from their cages

PETA pressures Mondelez International to show animals roaming in their natural habitats

U.S. man admits slaying wife, blames her for daughters’ deaths

A 33-year-old Denver man is facing three first-degree murder charges

Most Read