CALGARY, Alta. –
Joe Veleno (Kirkland, Que./Saint John, QMJHL), the only Canadian selected
to wear the red-and-white twice at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, will wear
the ‘C’ at the summer hockey staple when Canada steps on the ice in
Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia.
The 6’1” forward, who was part of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18
Team at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, will be supported by alternate
captains Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta./Spokane, WHL) and Jett Woo
(Winnipeg/Moose Jaw, WHL).
“We’re real lucky with this team; there are a bunch of leaders in our room.
Obviously Joe has been to the tournament before, he has a lot of
experience, and we really felt that him coming back with his own age group
would give him a good opportunity to lead,” said head coach Brent Kisio of
the captains’ selection process. “Jett Woo was a captain last year at [the
World Under-17 Hockey Challenge], Ty Smith was as well, so they bring some
leadership skills, and we felt these were the right three guys for us. But
like I said, we have a lot of great leaders on this team. The biggest thing
is we want to make Canada proud, on and off the ice.”
Hockey Canada named its 22-player roster on Aug. 1, following five days of
selection camp which included three intrasquad games for the 44 players in
All but two of the 22 players represented their country at the World
Under-17 Hockey Challenge – an international tournament hosted annually in
Canada that features three Canadian teams (Red, White, Black) and five
international teams. Canada’s team also includes 15 players who’ve worn the
red-and-white in international competition overseas – six having donned the
Team Canada jersey at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship in Poprad and
Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia, in April (Dellandrea, Gravel, McIsaac, Smith,
Thomas, Woo); and 11 having competed for Canada at the 2016 Winter Youth
Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway (Burzan, Dudas, Fortier, Gravel,
Groulx, MacDonald, McIsaac, Merkley, Rodrigue, Smith, Woo). Veleno returns
to the line-up as the only Canadian player to have represented Canada twice
at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, having been part of the 2016 team.
The Canadians head overseas on Wednesday, and will face the Czech Republic
in a pre-tournament game on Aug. 5 in Breclav, and officially open the 2017
Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup on Aug. 7 against Russia. The top two teams from
each group advance to the semifinals on Friday, Aug. 11, with the
gold-medal game scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12.
Canada has won gold 20 times in 25 years of summer under-18 competition and
will play in Group B this year with Finland, Russia, and Slovakia; Group A
consists of the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
In 2018, the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup will be hosted on Canadian ice for
the first time in history; as
announced last November, Hockey Canada, the Czech Ice Hockey Association, and the Slovak Ice
Hockey Federation have struck a partnership to host the prestigious summer
hockey staple on Canadian ice on a bi-annual basis. Edmonton has been
selected to host the tournament in 2018, 2020, and 2022.