Team Canada Reveals Men’s Olympic Hockey Roster
When a Leafs fan sees the names Mason Raymond, Ben Scrivens and Brandon Kozun lumped together in one place it is usually followed by an uncomfortable shiver and a remembrance of past negative experiences.
But this is a much different set of circumstances.
With Canada set to march into the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea on February 9th, Hockey Canada placed the finishing touches on the Men’s Olympic Hockey team.
Without NHL player participation in this year’s games, General Manager Sean Burke was tasked with scouring the globe for the next best Canadian options available to him. Now with the team set, it’s clear the most heavily represented league is the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) as 13 of the 25 players call it their professional home, with other entries including the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), American Hockey League (AHL) and the Swiss National League.
Another development was that there was believed to be some possibility of a member of the recent World Junior Championship gold medal-winning team joining for the festivities in Sochi (ie. Jordan Kyrou, Cale Makar, Sam Steel). But today’s release showed that the selection committee leaned more towards experience and opted not to include the kids. 23 of these 25 players have at least had a sniff at NHL games, led by forwards Chris Kelly (833), Derek Roy (738) and Rene Bourque (725). You’d have to think these will be the lead candidates for the captaincy of this group.
As with every Olympic team selection – although, admittedly much different this time around – there were certainly some “notable” players left off the roster. There were a number of former NHLers I had personally thought were locks for Pyeongchang simply based on familiarity, but they will be stuck with waking up early/staying up late (1:10am Gold Medal game, everybody) to watch like the rest of us.
The fact that there are four more former Leafs on that list is kind of hilarious.
Anyways, I know it sucks that we’re not truly getting a “best on best” international hockey tournament without NHL participation. I know it sucks we’re not getting to see our Canadian superstars all playing together on the same team. I know it sucks Gary Bettman is a greedy weasel. I know it…wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, what I’m trying to get at is this will still be a fun tournament to watch. The spirit of the Olympics is all about cheering on that athlete you’ve never heard of in that sport you know nothing about (even though you pretend you do for a week or so), and why do we do it? All because we each consider this awesome country “home”. The only difference is that this time around that routine now involves the sport we love most.
We cannot forget that this team will be gunning for a third straight Canadian Men’s Hockey gold medal at the Olympics. And if this group of castoffs can bring it home, it’ll be a hockey memory we won’t soon forget.
The full roster can be found here.