Team Canada will be looking at making history in Slovakia this April at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia.
In 2002, the last time the U18 tournament was held in Slovakia, Canada finished without a medal after losing 5-3 to Belarus in the bronze medal game.
This time around they are hoping for a much better result.
Canada will also be attempting to return home with a medal around their necks after also falling in last year’s bronze medal contest.
The United States took third place in 2016 with a 10-3 rout of Team Canada when the tournament was played in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
This year’s group of Canadian hopefuls left Canada on April 5 for Slovakia to participate in two pre-tournament games.
On April 9, Russia edged Canada 5-4 in Bratislava, the following day in Piestany, Canada defeated Switzerland with a matching 5-4 score.
Canada will play in Group A along with Latvia, Switzerland, Finland (2016 World Champions) along with the host Slovakia.
Canada will begin the World Championship on April 13 against the Latvians.
Group B will feature Russia, Belarus, Sweden (2016 silver medalists) Czech Republic and the United States.
Darren Rumble from the QMJHL Moncton Wildcat will be behind the bench as the head coach for Team Canada.
This will be Rumble’s third appearance with Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence men’s under-18 program and first time as Team Canada’s head coach at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship.
Rumble spent time as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in 2015 and 2016, winning gold in his first appearance.
Rumble will be assisted by Steve Hamilton (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL) and Stéphane Julien (Sherbrooke Phoenix, QMJHL).
Rounding out this year’s coaching staff is Jory Stuparyk (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL) as video coach, and Fred Brathwaite (Hockey Canada) as goaltending consultant.
Canada has won seven medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship, including three gold medals (2003, 2008 and 2013).
Their last medal performance was in 2015 when they took home bronze with a 5-2 victory over Switzerland, the host country that year.
In 2014, Canada defeated Sweden 3-1 in Finland for their first of two consecutive, bronze medal performances at the IIHF World U18 Championships.
TSN is the official broadcaster for the 2017 IIHF U18 Championships.
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