Canada forward Alex Formenton takes part in practice at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, July, 30, 2018. Formenton played as part of the Canadian team that captured the championship in Buffalo, N.Y., last January. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett

Canada forward Alex Formenton takes part in practice at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, July, 30, 2018. Formenton played as part of the Canadian team that captured the championship in Buffalo, N.Y., last January. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett

Fresh Canadian crew focused on recapturing world junior hockey gold

The World Junior Showcase is an eight day event featuring Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States.

Alex Formenton and Maxime Comtois know what it takes to capture world junior hockey gold and now they’re sharing their wisdom with a whole new squad.

Both of the young forwards were part of the Canadian team that captured the championship in Buffalo, N.Y., last January.

They each keep the championship rings they earned next to their beds, a hefty memento to provide daily motivation.

“Every time I wake up, I just want to be better than I was the day before,” Comtois said Monday in Kamloops, B.C., where he’s on the Canadian roster at this summer’s world junior showcase.

Canada has 39 players at the event, a group that will eventually be whittled down to the team playing in the annual world junior tournament in Vancouver and Victoria this winter.

Comtois and Formenton are the only ones at the showcase who were also part of last year’s gold medal-winning group. St. Louis Blues prospect Robert Thomas was invited, but is reportedly recovering from an ankle injury.

Being a veteran means taking on a leadership role, Formenton said.

“I’m not a very vocal guy, but I want to lead by example out on the ice and help out my teammates as much as I can,” said the 18-year-old Ottawa Senators prospect, who got into one NHL game at the start of last season.

Formenton said tournament experience taught him that the play is faster than what most young guys are used to.

“You’re playing against top guys of every country,” he said.

Related: Canada loses to U.S. in shootout at World Juniors outdoor game

Related: Speed and depth key to Canada’s junior team ahead of world championship

Despite last year’s success, the new team starts from the bottom with a clean slate and will have to put in major work to win, said Comtois, who was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2017.

For the returnees, that work will include taking the experience and using it to help guys who are new to the roster.

“It’s going to be our job to build the chemistry of the team,” said the 19-year-old.

The young men playing for Team Canada at the showcase hail from across the country, from South Surrey, B.C., to Summerside, P.E.I. But many have played together previously, in development camps, junior hockey clubs and university teams.

Coming together as a group will be key to winning, said Tim Hunter, head coach of the junior national team.

This is Hunter’s first year at the helm, but he’s been an assistant coach for the last two years.

“We’re going to be a different team than the past two years where we won silver and gold and had a lot of success,” he said.

“So these guys are going to have to come together as a group, get really close — because close teams win — and write our own story.”

The tight-knit bond of last year’s squad was evident to Morgan Frost, even as the centre watched at home.

“You could just kind of tell,” he said. ”They had such good chemistry on the ice and they wore teams down, they worked hard and they played for each other.”

Defenceman Ty Smith saw a high-speed, physical game as he watched last year. Being part of that action is something he’s wanted since childhood.

“(Playing in the world juniors) is kind of something that you always dream about as a kid. I watch it every year on TV at Christmas time,” he said.

Smith and Frost said they’ve both had other players tell them how special the experience is, and believe playing on Canadian soil will only amplify that feeling.

Whoever makes the team will have big skates to fill. Canada has won gold 17 times in the 42-year history of the world men’s under-20 championship.

Frost said everyone at the summer showcase plans to add to that legacy.

“I think every guy in that room that will make the team will expect to win gold,” he said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A spokesperson for the Peninsula Country Market is upset that their third and final Winter Market won’t happen this Saturday in Central Saanich’s Centennial Park following moves by the municipality. (Facebook/Peninsula Country Market)
Central Saanich postpones weekend Winter Market, organizers upset

Lorea Tomsin said municipality’s move runs counter to provincial direction

As cyclists and pedestrians pass by at Humboldt and Government streets, a garden of blooming black-eyed Susans brightens up the northwest corner of the Fairmont Empress Hotel property on a partially sunny November afternoon. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Keep your umbrella handy for the next while around Greater Victoria

November has lived up to its reputation as one of the rainiest months of the year

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Greater Victoria MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Transportation, Indigenous relations, children and family development ministries headed by locals

Victoria police are warning people after two Victoria residents fell victim to financial scams on Nov. 18 and 19. (Black Press Media File photo)
VicPD issues warning after two Victoria residents scammed $3,500

In both cases, the fraudsters were posing as financial services employees

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from daycare in Nanaimo

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Light Up parade a no-go, but Ladysmith’s streets are still all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Most Read