Hockey Canada announced their 31 invitations for World Junior selection camp today and three Mooseheads were among the names on the list. Defenceman Jared McIsaac is heading to Oakville, ON next week along with teammates Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Raphael Lavoie. Halifax has the most players invited to camp in the entire Canadian Hockey League. Among the players on the selection camp roster there are four goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 17 forwards.
McIsaac should be a lock to make the team after suiting up for Canada as an 18-year-old last season. The Detroit Red Wings prospect has only played one game for the Mooseheads so far this season after shoulder surgery in June. He contributed one assist and was a +1 with five shots on goal in Saturday’s 3-0 shutout of the Armada. The native of Truro, NS has 142 points for his career with Halifax and needs just eight more to tie Konrad Abeltshauser for the most points by a defenceman in franchise history.
Groulx, an Anaheim Ducks prospect, is eyeing his first chance at representing Canada at the World Junior Championship and could find a role as a key shutdown forward in the bottom six. The 19-year-old has plenty of offensive talent but it could be his two-way game and physical ability that helps to land a spot on the roster. Groulx recently became the eighth player in Mooseheads history to reach the 200 point plateau for his career. He has 203 since Halifax selected him first overall in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft.
Lavoie brings elite scoring talent to selection camp along with size and strength. At 6-foot-4, the big winger could be a solid addition to Head Coach Dale Hunter’s squad. The Edmonton Oilers prospect currently leads the Mooseheads in scoring with 41 points in 28 games played which puts him eighth in the QMJHL scoring race. Lavoie has lit the lamp 17 times this season and has a knack for coming up big in high pressure games as evidenced by his team-record 20 playoff goals last spring. He also had three points in four games during the Memorial Cup.
Despite participating in Hockey Canada’s summer development camp, goalie Alexis Gravel and defenceman Justin Barron were left off of the invitation roster for selection camp which runs December 9-12 at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville, ON before travelling to the Czech Republic for the World Juniors. As part of the selection process, Canadian hopefuls will play two games against a U SPORTS all-star team, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. ET and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. ET.
Other QMJHL players to get invites were Moncton’s Olivier Rodrigue & Jakob Pelletier, Dawson Mercer of Drummondville and Rimouski’s Alexis Lafreniere.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL CAMP ROSTER
Following the camp, the team will travel to Europe for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, looking to add to the 31 medals (17 gold, nine silver, five bronze) Canada has won at the tournament since 1977. Team Canada last took top spot in Buffalo in 2018.
Once a final roster is named, the quest for a gold medal begins in Ostrava on Boxing Day with a cross-border match-up against the United States at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.
For more information on Canada’s National Junior Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook and Twitter.
-with files from CHL.ca