The Canucks will be well represented at the upcoming 2019 IIHF World Championships.
The tournament takes place in Bratislava & Kosice, Slovakia from May 10-26 and consists of 16 teams; two groups of eight.
Group A consists of Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, United States, and host country Slovakia. Group B consists of Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy.
Five Canucks have been confirmed for this year’s tournament. You can catch all the games on TSN.
Blueliner Quinn Hughes and goaltender Thatcher Demko have been named to Team USA’s roster for the tournament. The star-studded roster is highlighted by elite forwards Jack Eichel and Patrick Kane.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) April 18, 2019
Hughes heads to Slovakia after dazzling in his debut with the Canucks this season. The 19-year-old will gain some valuable experience representing his country internationally after impressing with three assists in five games during his first NHL stint.
Demko, meanwhile, recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Canucks after making eight starts for the team this season. He’ll be competing with Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider for starts. Given Schneider’s struggles this season, it’s possible Demko runs away with the starting gig in Slovakia. The 23-year-old posted a respectable .913 save percentage with Vancouver this season and will likely serve as the full-time backup to Jacob Markstrom in 2019-20.
Here is Team USA’s preliminary schedule for the tournament:
Friday, May 10: USA vs. Slovakia, 11:00 AM PST
Sunday, May 12: USA vs. France, 3:00 AM PST
Monday, May 13: USA vs. Finland, 7:00 AM PST
Wednesday, May 15: USA vs. Great Britain, 7:00 AM PST
Saturday, May 18: Denmark vs. USA, 3:00 AM PST
Sunday, May 19: Germany vs. USA, 7:00 AM PST
Tuesday, May 21: Canada vs. USA, 11:00 AM PST
Rookie phenom Elias Pettersson, netminder Jacob Markstrom and veteran Loui Eriksson will be playing for Team Sweden at the tournament.
Sweden announces its first batch of commitments to the IIHF World Hockey Championship: pic.twitter.com/PHU4T24A1U
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) April 19, 2019
Pettersson is coming off a sensational rookie campaign in which he led the Canucks with 66 points (28 goals) in 71 games. He’s been great internationally for Sweden in the past and will look to continue that success into Slovakia. Pettersson recently had five goals and seven points in seven games for his country at the 2018 World Juniors.
Markstrom evolved into a reliable starting netminder for the Canucks this season, starting a whopping 60 games. While he’s likely in need of some rest, the workhorse goaltender likely won’t face too much action in Slovakia given that veteran netminder Henrik Lundqvist is also heading to the tournament. Lundqvist won gold in 2017 and will be looking to lead his country to another gold medal this time around.
Eriksson is overpaid, but he managed to a decent contributor for the Canucks this season, managing 11 goals and 29 points in a full season. There’s been plenty of talk about the 33-year-old and his future in Vancouver, but he should be a solid veteran presence for his country in Slovakia. Sweden appears to have a good mix of young players such as Pettersson and experienced players such as Lundqvist and Eriksson on their roster.
Here is Team Sweden’s preliminary schedule for the tournament:
Friday, May 10: Czech Republic vs. Sweden, 11:00 AM PST
Sunday, May 12: Italy vs. Sweden, 7:00 AM PST
Monday, May 13: Norway vs. Sweden, 11:00 AM PST
Thursday, May 16: Sweden vs. Austria, 7:00 AM PST
Saturday, May 18: Sweden vs. Switzerland, 11:00 AM PST
Monday, May 20: Sweden vs. Latvia, 11:00 AM PST
Tuesday, May 21: Sweden vs. Russia, 11:00 AM PST
Update* Defenseman Troy Stecher has been invited to play for Team Canada and has accepted his invitation. The 25-year-old from Richmond, BC had his best NHL season to date, posting 23 points and a plus-9 rating in 78 games. He’s become a reliable fixture on the Canucks’ blueline and plays a key role on special teams. Canada’s roster for the tournament is slowly starting to take shape. Stecher will gain some valuable experience playing with talented players such as Mark Stone and John Tavares up front. Goaltenders Matt Murray and Carter Hart also provide the team with some stability in net.
Here is Team Canada’s preliminary schedule:
Friday, May 10: Finland vs. Canada, 7:00 AM PST
Sunday, May 12: Great Britain vs. Canada, 11:00 AM PST
Monday, May 13: Slovakia vs. Canada, 11:00 AM PST
Thursday, May 16: Canada vs. France, 7:00 AM PST
Saturday, May 18: Canada vs. Germany, 7:00 AM PST
Monday, May 20: Canada vs. Denmark, 11:00 AM PST
Tuesday, May 21: Canada vs. USA, 11:00 AM PST
Brock Boeser declined his invitation to play for Team USA because he wants to get in a full summer of training. Bo Horvat won’t be playing for Team Canada because he’s getting married. Chris Tanev declined to go for Canada due to injury. Sven Baertschi, meanwhile, declined his invitation to play for Team Switzerland.