Well, it's official. Hockey Canada officially named its 22-man roster for the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament that kicks off next Monday, August 13. They named the team after a four-day camp that took part at Toronto's MasterCard Centre and there are, in my mind, a couple of surprise omissions.
Most of the roster was leaked thanks to players tweeting out results before there was an initial release. Slowly but surely the details fell into place. Jordan Subban was the first to confirm his addition to the team:
Team Canada!!! Can't wait to head to Europe in a couple with the boys!
— jordan subban (@jordansubban) August 6, 2012
Then Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, the major Quebec additions to the group, announced their spots. MacKinnon and Drouin play together in Halifax and will probably be Canada's top offensive duo.
Just made team Canada :) never been happier ! — Nathan Mackinnon (@Mackinnon9) August 6, 2012
just made team canada , great feeling europe in couple days — jonathan drouin (@jodrouin27) August 6, 2012
Mooseheads teammate Zachary Fucale was confirmed by Willy Palov. He was the expected starter all along, being the only one of the camp invitees to be a starter this past season. Eric Comrie, who found himself backing up a very strong Ty Rimmer in Tri-City this season, will be Fucale's backup.
One by one, we learned the roster and counted down the number of available spots. Max Domi:
Just made Team Canada, never been happier... Dream come true
— Max Domi (@max_domi) August 6, 2012
His London Knight teammate, Bo Horvat, confirmed himself a few minutes after Domi. Nick Ritchie, who played in camp alongside MacKinnon and Drouin, was confirmed by his older brother Brett who also plays in the OHL with the Niagara IceDogs. Along with Horvat was another offensive force who will up his offensive production with a more favourable spot in the lineup next season: Nic Petan of Delta was relegated to the third line with the Portland Winterhawks, scoring 14 goals in 61 games and none in 22 playoff games. He has a lot of skill and works well in tight spaces, and the Winterhawks were quick to congratulate him:
As the roster fell into place, there were five defencemen confirmed: Subban, Shea Theodore, Madison Bowey, Chris Bigras and Josh Morrissey. This meant that either Darnell Nurse, Aaron Ekblad or Dillon Heatherington would be cut from the squad. It turns out that Team Canada chose to go a different route. Kayle Doetzel, who played just 43 games in Red Deer this season, made the squad in favour of both Heatherington and Ekblad.
Ekblad is of course the big story. His play in camp, particularly on the second day, didn't reassure me that he was ready to play effectively in the tough minutes and he still has a big of issues to work with in his game, mostly learning how to control that listed 6'3", 212-lb frame of his. As told to Raymond Bowe of the Barrie Examiner:
Ekblad's release might be considered somewhat surprising. The blue-liner is coming off an impressive rookie campaign with the Colts, scoring 10 goals and 19 assists in 63 games and was named the Ontario Hockey League's rookie of the year.
All this after being the first player since John Tavares to be granted 'exceptional player' status, which led to being drafted first overall by Barrie.
"You just kind of got to look at the positives and look towards the future and right now my future is being with the Barrie Colts and having a good season, so I'm really looking forward to that," said the six-foot-three, 207-pound native of Belle River. [Barrie Examiner]
So that's the major one.
Finally, Hockey Canada released the full roster after much of the bloggers had done the detective work. That can be found here, along with their press release. Some of the more notable names I haven't discussed include spark plugs Anthony Duclair and Curtis Lazar, along with the last (I think) of the Reinhart brothers, Sam, who scored 28 goals in just 67 games with Kootenay of the WHL this season. Also, just 2 penalty minutes to his name—a high sticking minor back on December 9.
The schedule of games is here. Canada starts on Monday against Switzerland. Slovakia and Sweden round out the group.
(h/t to @SeanLafortune)