Logan Stankoven is aware of he and the remainder of Group Canada are beneath the microscope because the World Junior Hockey Championship begins.
Not solely will the squad be taking part in on house soil after they face Latvia of their first recreation of the event on Wednesday, they’ll be doing so throughout a interval of intense scrutiny for Canadian hockey.
Hockey gamers throughout the nation are used to being beneath a microscope, Stankoven stated.
“I don’t suppose it issues who the participant is or what the crew is — hockey’s a giant factor within the nation of Canada and it sort of brings folks collectively,” he stated, noting that rising up in Kamloops, B.C., he fastidiously watched every little thing gamers on the Kamloops Blazers did.
“So I feel that the highlight’s at all times on us it doesn’t matter what, and also you need to be an awesome position mannequin for the youthful youngsters.”
Criticism of Hockey Canada loomed giant because the 10-team event started Tuesday in Edmonton.
The nationwide sports activities group has confronted intense criticism in current months for its dealing with of sexual assault allegations levied in opposition to members of former world junior groups.
The allegations prompted parliamentary inquiries and the federal authorities has frozen its funding of the group.
Large-name sponsors — together with Telus and Canadian Tire — adopted go well with, leaving the ice at Rogers Place freed from adverts and the encircling boards devoid of the same old logos.
Gamers have largely been insulated from what’s occurring, stated Group Canada goalie Dylan Garand.
“The folks at Hockey Canada, the employees above have performed a extremely good job of creating certain and letting us know that they’re caring for the stuff off the ice. And our job is to give attention to what’s on the ice and on our group,” he stated. “So it’s been good and I wouldn’t say there’s any added stress for us. We’re simply targeted on hockey.”
1000’s of tickets nonetheless up for grabs for World Juniors Championship video games in Edmonton
The thrill and pleasure that surrounded the preliminary 2022 event in Edmonton and Crimson Deer, Alta., is essentially absent.
That iteration was referred to as off on Dec. 29 after simply 4 days as rising COVID-19 circumstances amongst gamers and officers compelled video games to be forfeited.
Holding the delayed model in August means it could take some gamers longer to rise up to hurry, stated Czechia’s head coach Radim Rulik.
“There’s undoubtedly a giant distinction by way of gamers’ our bodies as a result of in December clearly they’re in the course of the season,” he stated by means of a translator on Tuesday. “Nevertheless (I) suppose within the matter of the event, it’s going to shift again to regular as a result of younger gamers are very adaptable.”
The world juniors are a showcase of the most effective under-20 gamers throughout the globe, however the Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation has allowed athletes born in 2002 who’ve already turned 20 to play on this summer time’s championship.
Regardless of the rejigged eligibility, a number of huge Canadian abilities are lacking from the event, together with former captain Kaiden Guhle (a Montreal Canadiens prospect) and defenceman Owen Energy, who the Buffalo Sabres’ first total choice within the 2021 NHL entry draft. Ahead Shane Wright, taken fourth total by the Seattle Kraken on the 2022 draft final month, can be absent.
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Group Canada shall be headlined by Regina Pats ahead Connor Bedard and Kent Johnson, who was a part of the Olympic males’s crew that completed sixth on the Beijing Video games.
Mason McTavish additionally wore the Maple Leaf on the Olympics and is captaining the Canadian crew in Edmonton.
“It means a lot to me. Clearly I wouldn’t be right here if I didn’t need to be,” he stated. “One thing I like to do is play hockey and compete. The world junior event is without doubt one of the greatest tournaments on the earth. To be right here and be captain of this crew is so humbling to me. I’m actually trying ahead to Wednesday.”
The delayed 2022 event can be lacking a giant aggressive menace, with the Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation barring Russia from the competitors over the nation’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Not like earlier variations of the occasion, tickets for the 2022 world juniors are nonetheless available by means of Ticketmaster, together with about 1,300 for Wednesday’s tilt between Canada and Latvia. Greater than 1,500 seats for the ultimate recreation of the 11-day event are nonetheless up for grabs, too.
Lower than 200 folks had been within the stands for the primary recreation of the event Tuesday, a day tilt between Slovakia and Czechia.
The Slovaks (0-1-0) jumped out to a 2-0 lead earlier than the top of the primary interval however the Czechs (1-0-0) battled again to take a 5-4 victory.
An absence of spectators didn’t bother Slovakian ahead Servac Petrovsky.
“I wasn’t shocked as a result of it’s a 12 p.m. recreation,” he stated.
Again in Slovakia, it was 8 p.m. when the puck dropped, so there have been doubtless extra folks watching on TV, he added.
Much more seats had been empty when Finland (1-0-0) took a decisive 6-1 victory over Latvia (0-0-1) later within the day.
The defending champion Individuals made it look simple by beating Germany 5-1 within the ultimate recreation of the day on Tuesday.
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