Canada forward Alex Formenton takes part in practice at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, July, 30, 2018. Formenton played as part of the Canadian team that captured the championship in Buffalo, N.Y., last January. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett

Fresh Canadian crew focused on recapturing world junior hockey gold

The World Junior Showcase is an eight day event featuring Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

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.

They each keep the championship rings they earned next to their beds, a hefty memento to provide daily motivation.

“Every time I wake up, I just want to be better than I was the day before,” Comtois said Monday in Kamloops, B.C., 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.

Being a veteran means taking on a leadership role, Formenton said.

“I’m not a very vocal guy, but I want to lead by example out on the ice and help out my teammates as much as I can,” said the 18-year-old Ottawa Senators prospect, who got into one NHL game at the start of last season.

Formenton said tournament experience taught him that the play is faster than what most young guys are used to.

“You’re playing against top guys of every country,” he said.

Related: Canada loses to U.S. in shootout at World Juniors outdoor game

Related: Speed and depth key to Canada’s junior team ahead of world championship

Despite last year’s success, the new team starts from the bottom with a clean slate and will have to put in major work to win, said Comtois, who was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2017.

For the returnees, that work will include taking the experience and using it to help guys who are new to the roster.

“It’s going to be our job to build the chemistry of the team,” said the 19-year-old.

The young men playing for Team Canada at the showcase hail from across the country, from South Surrey, B.C., to Summerside, P.E.I. But many have played together previously, in development camps, junior hockey clubs and university teams.

Coming together as a group will be key to winning, said Tim Hunter, head coach of the junior national team.

This is Hunter’s first year at the helm, but he’s been an assistant coach for the last two years.

“We’re going to be a different team than the past two years where we won silver and gold and had a lot of success,” he said.

“So these guys are going to have to come together as a group, get really close — because close teams win — and write our own story.”

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.

Whoever makes the team will have big skates to fill. Canada has won gold 17 times in the 42-year history of the world men’s under-20 championship.

Frost said everyone at the summer showcase plans to add to that legacy.

“I think every guy in that room that will make the team will expect to win gold,” he said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

White Rock open house to discuss city’s aquifer protection plan

Examination of potential hazards includes increased population, climate change

‘Connecting Threads’ and more in Surrey Art Gallery’s fall shows

Free admission at opening reception and panel discussion Sunday afternoon

SFU unveils new lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Combination of MRI, MEG allows for ‘best possible windows’ intro brain function

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

B.C. marijuana workers may face U.S. border scrutiny

Cannabis still illegal federally south of the border

New political party holds an informational session in Vernon

Maxime Bernier’s The People’s Party of Canada draws about 2o interested patrons to Vernon pub.

B.C. MLAs reminded of rural school struggles

Finance committee hears of falling enrolment, staff shortages

B.C. VIEWS: ’Not photo radar’ coming soon to high-crash areas

ICBC deficit now largely due to reckless and distracted driving

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Most Read