Ian Scott and Brett Leason will have a chance to compete for a spot on Canada’s roster at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship.
During a press conference that was televised nationally on TSN Monday afternoon, the Prince Albert Raiders teammates were among 34 players invited to the team’s selection camp, which will be held in Victoria, B.C. from Dec. 11-14.
“I was really hoping that I would get a chance to go to the camp and it’s an honour to get this opportunity,” Leason said. “Now it’s up to me to make the most of it.”
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play for Canada at the World Juniors and I’m looking forward to having the chance to be part of the team,” Scott added. “It’ll be great to have Brett coming along with me as we’ll be able to lean on each other as we go through this process.”
Canada’s final roster is expected to be announced on Friday, Dec. 14, with the tournament taking place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C.
Scott, a 19-year-old goaltender from Calgary, has put together a stellar campaign in his fourth year with the Raiders.
The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect leads the Western Hockey League in wins (22), goals against average (1.61), save percentage (.943) and shutouts (four).
He also has experience playing for Canada on an international stage, as he’s suited up for his country at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Hlinka Gretzky Cup and World Under-18 Hockey Championship.
“I think being at those tournaments and the Canada Russia Series last month will help me out a lot,” Scott said. “You get a chance to know the guys that you can be playing with for Canada and you get to face some strong international competition.
“As a goalie, the main job is to stop as many pucks as you can and that’s the only thing they want you to focus on at a camp like this.”
Although Scott is a familiar face to Hockey Canada, Leason has never been part of any major tournaments for his country.
The 19-year-old forward from Calgary is enjoying a career season with the Raiders, as he’s recorded a point in all 27 games this year and leads the WHL in points (60) and goals (27).
Leason, who has yet to be drafted by a National Hockey League team, is tied for third in assists (33) with Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs.
“They invited me for a reason so I plan to keep playing the way I have for the Raiders when I head out to Victoria,” Leason said.
“Having the chance to play at the Canada Russia Series was huge for me going into this camp. The games there were fast paced and each team had a lot of skill, so it gave me a good idea of what things will be like.”
The teammates are looking to become the first members of the Raiders to make Canada’s roster since blueliner Josh Morrissey took part in the 2014 tournament in Sweden.
Morrissey also competed at the World Juniors a year later, but was traded to the Kelowna Rockets shortly before the selection camp took place.
The team has had players competing at the last three tournaments for the Czech Republic, with Vojtech Budik playing for the team last year and Simon Stransky competing at the 2016 and 2017 events.
Scott and Leason, who will take to the ice Tuesday on the road against the Swift Current Broncos, will both be flying out to Victoria next Monday.
The Raiders are also expected to be without forward Aliaksei Protas and blueliner Sergei Sapego during that time, as they look to play for Belarus at the Division I World Juniors in Fussen, Germany from Dec. 9-15.
The other 32 players that earned invitations to the selection camp are as follows:
- Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)
- Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
- Calen Addison (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
- Nicolas Beaudin (Drummondville Voltigeurs)
- Jacob Bernard-Docker (North Dakota Fighting Hawks)
- Evan Bouchard (London Knights)
- Josh Brook (Moose Jaw Warriors)
- Cameron Crotty (Boston Terriers)
- Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)
- Pierre-Olivier Joseph (Charlottetown Islanders)
- Jared McIsaac (Halifax Mooseheads)
- Ian Mitchell (Denver Pioneers)
- Markus Phillips (Owen Sound Attack)
- Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs)
- Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Spokane Chiefs – Currently sidelined with a wrist injury)
- Shane Bowers (Boston Terriers)
- Maxime Comtois (Drummondville Voltigeurs – Part of last year’s gold medal winning team)
- Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
- MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs)
- Alex Formenton (London Knights – Part of last year’s gold medal winning team)
- Liam Foudy (London Knights)
- Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
- Cody Glass (Portland Winterhawks)
- Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
- Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski Oceanic)
- Raphael Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads)
- Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm)
- Jack Studnicka (Oshawa Generals)
- Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack)
- Owen Tippett (Mississauga Steelheads)
- Joseph Veleno (Drummondville Voltigeurs)
- Gabriel Vilardi (Los Angeles Kings – Currently playing with the AHL’s Ontario Reign after missing the first half of the season due to an injury)
Forwards Robert Thomas and Michael Rasmussen could also be in the mix for a spot on the team, but it’s yet to be seen if they will be loaned to Canada from the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings respectively.
Notable by their absences from the selection camp roster were forwards Trey Fix-Wolansky (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Stellio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings), along with blueliner Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm).
Tuesday’s matchup in Swift Current is the second of the year between the East Division rivals, as the Raiders picked up a 6-2 win over the Broncos at the Art Hauser Centre on Nov. 9.
It also marks the first of three meetings before Christmas between the two teams, as they’ll play at the Credit Union iPlex on Friday, Dec. 14 and will meet up again a night later in Prince Albert.
The Broncos are currently in a three-game losing streak after a 5-2 setback at home to the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday and reside at the bottom of the WHL standings with a 4-2-1-1 mark.
On Monday, the Broncos dealt their leading scorer Max Patterson to the Everett Silvertips in exchange for the rights to forward Dawson Springer, a fourth round pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft and a conditional sixth round pick in 2021.
Patterson, a 19-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., had 19 points in 27 games this year for the defending WHL champions.
Springer, a 16-year-old from Yorkton, was listed by the Silvertips earlier this season but has yet to sign a WHL contract.
He’s currently in his first season of Midget AAA hockey with the Prince Albert Mintos and leads the team in scoring with 25 points in 21 games.
Heading into a home game Tuesday with the Tisdale Trojans, Springer is tied with Holden Knights of the Beardy’s Blackhawks for the most goals in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with 18.
On the health front, 17-year-old forward Eric Houk is expected to be out for the next three-to-four weeks with an undisclosed upper body aliment after he was injured against the Regina Pats on Nov. 10.
- Medicine Hat 3 Regina 2 (James Hamblin – One Goal and One Assist)
- Prince George 5 Victoria 3 (Vladislav Mikhalchuk – Two Goals)
- Calgary 5 Moose Jaw 1 (Riley Stotts – Four Assists)
- Lethbridge 5 Red Deer 4 (Nolan Jones Overtime Winner – Taylor Ross – Three Goals and One Assist – First Career Hat Trick)
- Portland 10 Kootenay 2 (Joachim Blichfeld – Three Goals and Two Assists – Second Hat Trick This Season and Third Career)
- Vancouver 4 Tri-City 2 (Milos Roman – One Goal and One Assist)
Around the WHL
The Moose Jaw Warriors added two players to the forward core Monday as they acquired Kjell Kjemhus from the Prince George Cougars for a seventh round pick in 2020 and picked up Luke Ormsby from the Everett Silvertips for a sixth round pick in 2022.
Kjemhus, a 17-year-old from Grande Prairie, Alta., had two assists in five games with the Cougars this season and put together a four-point campaign in 25 games last year.
He was a fourth round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2016 WHL Draft, but was traded to Prince George in January of this year in a deal that saw the Pats acquire Boston Bruins prospect Jesse Gabrielle.
Ormsby, a 19-year-old from Monroe, Wash., had six points this year for the Silvertips, who acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds last November.
He has 24 points in 150 career games and has been to the league final in back-to-back seasons with the Thunderbirds and Silvertips.
- Medicine Hat vs. Brandon – 7 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.