File photo courtesy Matthew Murnaghan, Hockey Canada

File photo courtesy Matthew Murnaghan, Hockey Canada

Road to the World Juniors leads through B.C.

Finland plays Denmark on Wednesday, United States takes on Czech Republic on Saturday

The games may not count in the standings, but there will be plenty at stake when the puck drops for a pair of exhibition junior hockey games this week at Langley Events Centre.

Finland battles Denmark on Wednesday at 7 p.m. while the United States battles the Czech Republic on Saturday at 7 p.m. as part of the Lordco Auto Parts Road to the World Juniors.

“Langley Events Centre has a long resume of international sports, including hockey, but the World Junior Tournament is a huge part of Canadian culture and to be involved with this and bring it to our community in any capacity is really the icing on top. We couldn’t be more excited for these games,” said Tyler Dinwoodie, Associate Director, Production Services for Langley Events Centre.

A dozen games in nine different communities are being held from December 19 to December 23 as the 10 competing teams get a few last looks at their respective players before finalizing their rosters ahead of the U20 championship.

“The support and involvement from our sponsors, like Lordco, ensures that we’re able to deliver this unique event to communities throughout B.C. while also showcasing the future stars of the game to fans around the world,” said tournament director Riley Wiwchar.

“This series of exhibition games will give thousands of British Columbians the opportunity to see top notch international junior hockey in their home communities,” said Lisa Beare, minister of tourism, arts can culture. “The Province of British Columbia is committed to hosting events like these to help inspire more people to get physically active and to boost local businesses.”

Finland vs. Denmark

The Finish roster includes highly-touted forward prospect Kaapo Kakko, who is currently ranked second for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, as well as Rasmus Kupari, a first round pick of the Los Angeles Kings.

Also aiming to crack the Finnish roster is Vancouver Canucks draft pick Toni Utunen. The defenceman was a fifth-round pick of the Canucks in 2018.

Their opponent, Denmark, has one NHL draft pick on their roster, forward Jonas Rondbjerg, a third-round pick of the Vegas Golden Knights.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Young players skate with Kazakhstan National Team in Langley

United States vs. Czech Republic

Judging by both teams’ respective preliminary rosters, there is plenty of high-end talent which could be on display. Twenty-five of the U.S. players have been drafted or signed into the NHL while 16 members of the Czech Republic have also been drafted. This also includes four first rounders for the Czech squad – Filip Chytil (New York Rangers), Martin Kaut (Colorado), Martin Necas (Carolina) and Filip Zadina (Detroit) – and seven on the American roster – Cayden Primeau (Montreal), K’Andre Miller (New York Rangers), Joel Farabee (Philadelphia), Josh Norris (Ottawa), Jay O’Brien (Philadelphia), Ryan Poehling (Montreal) and Oliver Wahlstrom (New York Islanders).

And the other first round pick hoping to crack the American roster is a name familiar with Lower Mainland hockey fans, defenceman Quinn Hughes. Hughes, who plays for the University of Michigan, was picked seventh overall last June by the Vancouver Canucks. He is also the older brother of expected first overall pick this June, Jack Hughes, who is a good shot to land a spot on the final American roster.

The American team also features another Canuck prospect, forward Tyler Madden, a third-round pick in 2018. This could also be the only time for Lower Mainland hockey fans to see the U.S. side as the Americans are playing all of their preliminary round games in Victoria.

Just Posted

A Milbert’s tortoiseshell rests on a flower. Nature Chilliwack says butterfly gardens for every stage of life are possible using plants native to the area. (Photo/Nature Chilliwack)
Nature Chilliwack offers butterfly garden tips

Gardens can be created using local plants, the nature club says

(Photo/Mary-Jean Coyle)
Community Camera for June 11, 2021

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read