TORONTO, ON – When the snow begins to fall across Canada, hockey fans know that the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship is drawing near. Although the tournament does not start until Boxing Day, Hockey Canada hosts their selection camp weeks in advance.
Since 1988, Canadian university sport has participated in Hockey Canada’s World Junior selection process, and the 2022 tournament will be no different. U SPORTS will send a team of the best players from the Alberta Golden Bears, Calgary Dinos, Mount Royal Cougars and MacEwan Griffins to face off in two games against some of Canada’s best young hockey players.
Since 2015, U SPORTS has selected an all-star team to play against the World Junior selection camp; however, in this season, only players from the four Alberta schools have been chosen due to concerns surrounding COVD-19.
In 2018, the Alberta Golden Bears and MRU Cougars were scheduled to play the Hockey Canada Selection Camp, however, COVID-19 outbreaks in the Canadian camp and with the Cougars forced those games to be called off.
Canada West leading scorers and MRU Cougars student-athletes Nolan Yaremko and Riley Sawchuk headline the U SPORTS roster, where their Head Coach Bert Gilling, as well as Tyson Helgeson, Kyle Walker and Riley Lindgren, will join them.
Lindgren is one of the three returning players from the 2019 U SPORTS All-Star roster, along with Alberta’s Grayson Pawlenchuk and Clayton Kirchenko. The trio has not gotten off to stellar starts in 2021-22 but still headlines their team’s nominees.
Before the cancellation of the Lucerne 2021 Winter Universiade, U SPORTS had selected a Canada West and AUS heavy All-Star team to represent Canada in Switzerland. While those games will not happen, they are responsible for the heavy Alberta Golden Bears presence on the team.
U SPORTS named no Golden Bears for the Universiade, with the student-athletes opting to stay in Alberta and play the Hockey Canada games. Three are eight Alberta Golden Bears players on the roster for these upcoming games.
While there are no players outside the Alberta schools on the roster, MacEwan’s Riley Brandt will ring a bell for OUA fans, having spent two seasons with the RMC Paladins. Also from the first-year U SPORTS program, former Kelowna Rockets defender Sean Comrie will wear the U SPORTS jersey.
“This is an excellent opportunity for U SPORTS to show our continued support for Hockey Canada in helping them best prepare the Canadian World Junior Team for the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton and Red Deer,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, Chief Sport Officer of U SPORTS in a press release.
“We are honoured to be invited annually to the selection camp while simultaneously showcasing some of the best talent Canadian university hockey has to offer. We greatly appreciate Hockey Canada’s support in hosting some of Canada’s top university players.”
The U SPORTS teams will use Hockey Canada’s goaltenders, which have already been decided for the final tournament roster. The trio of London Knight goaltender Brett Brochu, Sebastian Cossa of the Edmonton Oil Kings, and 2021 returnee Dyland Garand of the Kamloops Blazers will battle for Canada starting role.
Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp will be held at the WinSport Arena in Calgary and will include two games against the U SPORTS. The games are scheduled for Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT and Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT. Expect streaming details to be shared in the coming days.
Team Canada opens the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship on Dec. 26 in Edmonton vs the Czech Republic.
FULL U SPORTS ROSTER
Tyson Helgesen – MRU
Kyle Walker – MRU
Clayton Kirchenko – Alberta “A”
Dylan Plouffe – Alberta
Ryan Gagnon – Calgary
Sean Comrie – MacEwan
Riley Sawchuk – MRU
Riley Lindgren – MRU “A”
Nolan Yaremko – MRU
Josh Prokop – Alberta
Tyler Preziuso – Alberta
Eric Florchuk – Alberta
Matthew Fonteyne – Alberta
Grayson Pawlenchuck – Alberta “C”
Nolan Volcan – Alberta
Kaden Elder – Calgary
Jake Gricius – Calgary
Riley Brandt – MacEwan