Three Jets, One Winnipegger Named to Team Canada
WINNIPEG, MB. – Winnipeg’s Calvin Pickard and Jets’ Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Eric Comrie – along with Jets and head athletic therapist Rob Milette – will wear the Maple Leaf next month.
Hockey Canada named the first 18 players to its 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship roster and two players with ties to Winnipeg have been named as goaltenders, along with one forward and one defenseman
Comrie, 21, made his NHL debut earlier this month on Apr. 6 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, stopping 35 of 39 shots in a 5-4 win on the road. He recently finished his second season with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, going 19-26-2 with a 2.96 goals-against average and .906 save percentage this past season. This is Comrie’s first trip to the World Championship, but he has represented Canada three times previously. He played for Canada Pacific at the 2012 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and a won a gold medal playing for Canada at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka U18 Memorial Tournament and 2015 World Junior Championship.
Pickard, who just turned 25, became the Colorado Avalanche’s No. 1 goaltender this season after an injury to Semyon Varlamov. In 50 games, he was 15-31-2 with a 2.98 goals against average. This will be Pickard’s second trip to the World Championship. He played two games for Canada last year and had a 0.50 goals against average and a .971 save percentage. He also played for Canada at the 2010 World U-18 championship.
Schiefele, 24, finished seventh in NHL scoring this season with 32 goals and 82 points in 79 games. He established career highs for goals, assists and points to lead the Jets in scoring. This is the third time in four years Scheifele has represented Canada at the World Championship. He tallied five goals and nine points in nine games at last year’s World Championship to help Canada win a gold medal and had two goals and four points in eight games during the 2014 World Championship. During his junior career, Scheifele played for Canada at the 2011 World U18 Championship and the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Championship.
Morrissey, 22, appeared in all 82 games with the Jets this season, scoring six goals and adding 14 assists. This is his first appearance at the World Championship, but he donned the Canadian jersey on five occasions during his junior career — Canada Pacific at the 2012 World U-17 Hockey Challenge; he won a bronze medal at the 2012 U-18 World Championship and a gold medal at the 2013 U-18 World Championship; and played for Canada at the 2014 and 2015 World Junior Championships, winning a gold medal in 2015.
Milette is joining Canada for the second time in three years. He served as head athletic therapist for Canada at the 2015 World Championship, winning a gold medal.
Team Canada hits the ice in Geneva, Switzerland, for a pre-tournament camp, which includes a tune-up game on May 2 against the Swiss.
Canada opens the 2017 IIHF World Championship against the Czech Republic on Friday, May 5, with preliminary-round games scheduled through Tuesday, May 16. The bronze- and gold-medal games will take place on Sunday, May 21.
Scott Taylor, MyToba News
Photos – James Carey Lauder