Six players were released Friday from Canada’s world junior hockey team roster and one veteran forward was ruled out of the upcoming championship tournament due to injury.
Eleven players have left the team in the past two days, with four cuts Thursday, six more Friday and the announcement that Ottawa Senators draft pick Alex Formenton is injured and not able to play in the tournament which starts Boxing Day in Vancouver.
Formenton, one of only two returning players from last year’s gold medal team, injured his right leg in a pre-tournament contest Wednesday.
“We’ve done everything medically for assessments and he unfortunately has suffered an injury that is longer term recovery than this tournament,” said national team director Shawn Bullock. “Unfortunately, Alex won’t be part of our national team program this year.”
Goaltender Matthew Villalta, defencemen Jacob Bernard-Docker, Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Nicolas Beaudin, and forwards Liam Foudy and Isaac Ratcliffe were released late Friday after completing a three-game pre-tournament series against a team of Canadian university hockey players.
Beaudin, from Chateauguay, Que., said he will use the experience to motivate him as his hockey career progresses.
“Team Canada is one of the toughest rosters to get on,” he said. “It’s not easy. It’s just motivation for me.”
Villalta, from Godfrey, Ont., said he was disappointed but will focus on being the best goalie possible.
“It’s always tough getting cut from a team,” he said. “One game and one week doesn’t define who I am.”
Defencemen Cam Crotty and Calen Addison and forwards Raphael Lavoie and Ty Dellandrea were released Thursday.
Michael DiPietro and Ian Scott will be Canada’s goalies.
Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp, and the team must have a roster of 22 players.
Bullock said the team can wait until the tournament is underway before declaring its final roster.
“We can start the tournament shorthanded,” he said.
Bullock said team officials have also been in contact with several National Hockey League teams about possible junior age players being made available for the tournament. He said NHL teams have until Dec. 19 to decide whether to return a player to junior.
Kris Bennett scored twice as the U Sport all-stars downed the Canadian hopefuls 5-1 on Friday to take two of the three exhibition games.
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press