TORONTO, Ont. – Hockey Canada has confirmed that Jake Virtanen will be joining Canada’s National Junior Team for the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2015 to Jan. 5, 2016 in Helsinki, Finland.
Virtanen (New Westminster, B.C./Calgary, WHL), who was part of the team that won gold on home ice, is on loan from the Vancouver Canucks and played in Toronto Sunday afternoon for the Utica Comets as part of a conditioning stint with the team. He is one of four returning players from the 2015 championship team, which also included Lawson Crouse (Mt. Brydges, Ont./Kingston, OHL), Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, B.C./Victoria, WHL), and Brayden Point (Calgary/Moose Jaw, WHL).
“Adding Jake to our roster brings another layer of leadership and experience that will benefit the team and our younger players who are going to look to Jake, Lawson, Joe, and Brayden as we move along through the championship,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams, Hockey Canada. “We want to thank the Vancouver Canucks’ organization for working with us through this process.”
Also making the trip to Finland are:
- Goaltenders: Mackenzie Blackwood, Mason McDonald, and Samuel Montembeault;
- Defencemen: Thomas Chabot, Travis Dermott, Haydn Fleury, Brandon Hickey, Noah Juulsen, Jérémy Lauzon, Roland McKeown, and Travis Sanheim;
- Forwards: Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Rourke Chartier, Julien Gauthier, Jayce Hawryluk, Travis Konecny, Mitchell Marner, Nick Merkley, Brendan Perlini, John Quenneville, Mitchell Stephens, and Dylan Strome.
Following the second pre-competition game on Dec. 20 in Finland, Hockey Canada will finalize its National Junior Team roster for this year’s tournament.
Canada opens the tournament against the United States on Saturday, Dec. 26 at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT. Hockey Canada’s official broadcasters, TSN and RDS, are scheduled to broadcast all tournament games, including three pre-tournament games Dec. 19, 20, and 23; check local listings for details.