The Junior Team Canada puzzle

QUEBEC | The twelve Quebec teams of the QMJHL are on a forced break, at least until Wednesday and possibly for longer while the Ontario Leagues (OHL) Western (WHL) consider starting their activities in January 2021. No doubt, the puzzle is over for the leaders of Junior Team Canada who will have to put in place a team for the World Junior Hockey Championship, which will begin on December 25.

The head coach of the Canadian selection André Tourigny and the directors of Hockey Canada were at least able to see some of the QMJHL candidates at the start of the season. However, it is obvious that they will not be able to say the same for the players of Ontario and the West, just like those who play in the NCAA, before the start of their camp which should take place somewhere at the end of the season. month of november.

Tourigny, like the majority of the world’s population, has had to turn to teleworking and technology to continue to advance its issues.

“Since last April, we have been making video to assess the players. We did our evaluations in two waves. The first, we did it as if we were recruiters of NHL teams. We looked at the talent of the players, their qualities and how they can develop. In our second wave, we focused on what the players are in the present moment, on what they can give us now. Our vision was to say to ourselves: if we had a club to build today, who would we take? ”Explained the head coach of the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL.

The World Juniors schedule was unveiled last week. If the tournament schedule as well as its destination – the event will be held in a bubble in Edmonton – are settled, the rest remains unknown.

“At the moment, we don’t know when training camp will take place or how many training sessions and matches we will be able to play before the competition. Building a team when you have 20 practices is different from when you have eight. That said, we have everyone’s collaboration. There is no one who gets up in the morning and says to themselves: well, today we are going to put a damper on Team Canada. We must constantly adjust to the situation. “

In his current plan, Tourigny would like to invite around 45 players to training camp, in order to have a large enough sample, but also to be able to hold intra-team matches since it will be impossible to play against university stars like this. was customary for several years.

And Lafrenière?

Among the players that there could be at the camp, the coach is not delusional in the case of Alexis Lafrenière. New York Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton recently mentioned that they would be evaluating the possibility of loaning the Quebecer to ECJ in due course. For Tourigny, there are too many uncertainties at the moment to know what the Lafrenière clan will decide.

“I’m putting myself in the shoes of a player’s agent right now. You call and you ask when the camp will take place. We do not know. How many players at the camp? We do not know. Where will it take place? We do not know. When we have answers, we will have a better idea of ​​the players who will be present. “

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