Hockey fans in Prince Albert will have two players to cheer for at the World Juniors over Christmas.
Local blueliner Braden Schneider of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Raiders defenceman Kaiden Guhle have both made Canada’s roster for this year’s tournament, which is expected to begin on Christmas Day in Edmonton.
“It’s a dream come true for sure,” Guhle said shortly before a team practice on Friday. “I found out this morning during a FaceTime conversation with my mom (Carrianne), which made it extra special.
“For Hockey Canada to include our families in telling us that we made the team was first class, especially as they’ll be unable to attend the tournament due to the pandemic.”
Schneider is believed to be the first Prince Albert product to make the team since Denis Pederson captured a gold medal at the 1995 tournament in Red Deer.
The 19-year-old, who was picked in the first round of the NHL Draft by the New York Rangers in October, was a late cut from last year’s training camp.
“It’s every Canadian kid’s dream to be able to represent your country at the World Juniors and to come so close and to be sent home last year, it was tough,” Schneider said in an interview with the Wheat Kings’ website on Friday.
“But looking back at it, I wouldn’t change the outcome because I got better as a person and a player because of it.”
In addition to putting up 88 points in 185 games over the last three seasons in Brandon, he’s also represented his country at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the World Under-18 Hockey Championship.
Schneider is one of three Saskatchewan-born players on the roster, with the others being Kamloops Blazers forward Connor Zary of Saskatoon and Kelowna Rockets defenceman Kaedan Korczak of Yorkton.
Guhle is the first Prince Albert Raiders player to make Canada’s team since 2019, when goaltender Ian Scott and forward Brett Leason both cracked the roster.
“I just tried to play my game during the camp and I was focused on being solid defensively while trying to be physical,” Guhle said. “I didn’t want to do anything flashy or try to be someone that I wasn’t out on the ice.”
A first round pick by the Montreal Canadiens two months ago, Guhle has previously competed for Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he was an assistant captain.
The 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta. has scored 58 points in 137 games thus far in a Raiders uniform.
Prior to their round-robin opener against Germany on Boxing Day, Canada will play exhibition contests with Sweden on Dec. 21 and Russia on Dec. 23.
The full roster for the defending tournament champions is as follows:
- Dylan Garand (Kamloops Blazers)
- Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars)
- Devon Levi (Northeastern Huskies)
- Justin Barron (Halifax Mooseheads)
- Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants – Returning from last year’s team)
- Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters – Returning from last year’s team)
- Kaiden Guhle (Prince Albert Raiders)
- Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)
- Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets)
- Braden Schneider (Brandon Wheat Kings)
- Jordan Spence (Moncton Wildcats)
- Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves – Returning from last year’s team)
- Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes – Returning from last year’s team)
- Kirby Dach (Chicago Blackhawks)
- Dylan Holloway (Wisconsin Badgers)
- Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice)
- Connor McMichael (London Knights – Returning from last year’s team)
- Dawson Mercer (Chicoutimi Sagueneens – Returning from last year’s team)
- Alex Newhook (Boston College Eagles)
- Jakob Pelletier (Val-d’Or Foreurs)
- Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
- Jack Quinn (Ottawa 67’s)
- Ryan Suzuki (Saginaw Spirit)
- Phillip Tomasino (Oshawa Generals)
- Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers)
The final cuts from the training camp were blueliners Lukas Cormier (Charlottetown Islanders), Ryan O’Rourke (Soo Greyhounds) and Donovan Sebrango (Kitchener Rangers), along with forwards Mavrik Bourque (Shawinigan Cataractes), Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s), Gage Goncalves (Everett Silvertips), Seth Jarvis (Portland Winterhawks), Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix) and Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting).