When the puck drops tonight on the QMJHL portion of the Canada vs Russia Series in Charlottetown there will be an extensive troop of Halifax Mooseheads in the lineup. Four members of the Moose have been invited to suit up to represent their team and the league in the showcase that will conclude on Thursday night in Moncton.
“It’s a nice pat on the back to our organization to say that we have four players there representing the Quebec League and it’s nice for those four guys that their work ethic and their skill level has been rewarded,” said General Manager Cam Russell.
Forwards Arnaud Durandeau, Benoit-Olivier Groulx join defencemen Jared McIsaac and Jocktan Chainey as the QMJHL will try to capture the series title for Canada for a third straight year. The four Mooseheads players is tied with Rouyn-Noranda for the most participants from one team. The only other time Halifax has sent as many as four players to the event was in 2012 when Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Zach Fucale and Brent Andrews were named to the team.
“With three other guys from Halifax it’s awesome being able to share the experience with the. Any chance you get to represent your league or your team at another event is an honour,” McIsaac said.
The Mooseheads have sent 16 different players to the Canada vs Russia Series since it’s inception in 2003. GM Cam Russell said the game has significant importance for all four of his players but noted that Groulx and McIssac have an excellent chance to display their talents.
“Obviously this is a big event and every NHL team will be represented so it’s a good opportunity for our two 17-year-old guys to showcase themselves and show the NHL scouts what they can do on that level.”
As far as Jocktan Chainey (New Jersey Devils) and Arnaud Durandeau (New York Islanders) are concerned, Russell says just because they’re drafted doesn’t change the importance of an event like this.
“You know, they are playing for their teammates and they are playing for their contracts. It’s a great chance to show their NHL clubs how they’ve progressed as players.”
This year’s players will have their work cut out for them with one of the strongest Russian contingents in recent memory. The best-of-six series is currently tied 2-2 after the WHL and OHL split their games against a very competitive Russian team that will be bolstered by the additions of defending QMJHL scoring champion Vitalii Abramov (Gatineau Olympiques), Philadelphia Flyers first round pick German Rubtsov (Chicoutimi Sagueneens) and Nashville Predators selection Pavel Koltygin (Drummondville Voltigeurs).
McIsaac and Groulx help to make up a younger than usual QMJHL team that features several top prospects for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The two Mooseheads are predicted to be taken in the first round of next June’s draft and will be joined by Sea Dogs forward Joe Veleno and Acadie-Bathurst defenceman Noah Dobson. McIsaac said it’s yet another excellent opportunity to show NHL scouts what he is capable of doing.
“I’ll just be trying to play my game by being smart at both ends of the rink. Hopefully I can contribute as much as possible to help the team.”
The team is coached by Drummondville Volitgeurs Head Coach and former Halifax Mooseheads bench boss Dominique Ducharme. Team QMJHL enters play with three consecutive wins against Russia in the event and an overall record of 16-9-3.
For more Canada-Russia Series news, results and schedule click here.
The Halifax Mooseheads will return to action on Friday night at home when they battle the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Annual DND Appreciation Game at 7pm. The Mooseheads will also face off at Scotiabank Centre on Saturday afternoon at 2pm versus the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square or call 451-1221.
All-Time Mooseheads players in Canada-Russia Series: