Halifax Mooseheads rookies Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Jared McIsaac and Raphael Lavoie have been called upon by Hockey Canada to represent their country at the upcoming World Under 17 Hockey Challenge.
The tournament takes place from October 30th to November 5th in Sault Ste. Marie, ON while the pre-tournament schedule kicks off on October 27th. For the full schedule and more information click here.
Groulx is currently tied for fourth in team scoring for Halifax with five points including three goals and two assists. He and McIsaac, who has two assists, have both played all seven games for the Mooseheads. Lavoie had dressed in four games and contributed one assist before choosing to return to Midget AAA for the remainder of the season.
Groulx and McIsaac were selected with the first and second picks respectively in June’s QMJHL Entry Draft while Lavoie went in the second round – 29th overall to Halifax.
The 16-year-old players will be absent from the Mooseheads for a total of six games during that time.
66 players in total will comprise Canada’s three teams; White, Red and Black.
McIsaac and Lavoie will both suit up with Canada White while Groulx will play for Canada Red.
The Essar Centre and John Rhodes Community Centre will play host to the eight teams who will gut it out during six days of competition in the hopes of securing gold for their country. Team Canada Black, Team Canada White, the Czech Republic and United States will play in Group A, while Team Canada Red, Finland, Russia and Sweden will comprise Group B.
Official tournament action gets underway on Sunday, Oct. 30, when Team Canada Red takes on Finland at 12 p.m. ET, followed by Team Canada Black facing 2015 champions, Team Canada White, at 4 p.m. ET. The gold-medal game will be played at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Essar Centre. The event hosted by Hockey Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF).
The player selections were made by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel, with assistance from Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence management group lead for under-17, Dale DeGray, and regional scouts Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Barclay Branch (Ontario), Wade Klippenstein (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic), and Darrell Woodley (Ontario).
“These are the 66 best players in the country who are, by-and-large, making their first appearance in international competition as part of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. They have been selected not only based on their current ability, but also on their potential to represent Canada at under-18 and junior competition in the coming years,” said Shawn Bullock, senior manager of hockey operations and men’s national teams for Hockey Canada.
“This is a skilled group of high-performers with long-term international potential, and we look forward to working with them at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and in the future.”
Fifteen players (Groulx, McIsaac, Burzan, Busby, Chisholm, Dudas, Focht, MacDonald, McShane, Merkley, Nielsen, Roberts, Rodrigue, Smith, and Woo) earned a taste of international competition last February when they skated away from the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games with a silver medal.
Three current Mooseheads players competed in last year’s tournament which was held in Dawson Creek, BC. Forward Arnaud Durandeau along with defencemen Walter Flower and Jocktan Chainey (then with Shawinigan) all suited up in the event.
For more information on the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow along via social media on Facebook or Twitter.