It’s looking more and more as though Minnesota Duluth freshman defenseman Dylan Olsen will be on the final Canadian roster for the World Junior Championships starting Dec. 26 in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan.
Canada began its final selection camp Sunday in Regina and has had three scrimmages through Tuesday. The team relseased four players Tuesday — defensemen Nicolas Deslauriers (St-Anicet, Quebec./ Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL), Brandon Gormley (Murray River, Prince Edward Island/ Moncton, QMJHL) and forwards John McFarland (Richmond Hill, Ontario/ Sudbury, OHL) and Tyler Seguin (Brampton, Ontario/ Plymouth, OHL).
Canada is now at 31 players, including four goalies, 10 defensemen and 17 forwards. The camp runs through Wednesday when the final team of 22 will be announced by Hockey Canada at its Web site here.
University of Denver sophomore defenseman Patrick Wiercioch was a candidate for the Canadian team, but after playing in Friday’s game against UMD at the DECC, he flew with Olsen to Regina, and wasn’t cleared to participate by team doctors because of a knee injury.
UMD recruit Justin Faulk, a defenseman from South St. Paul, is a candidate for the U.S. Junior team. The American team will be reduced after a Saturday exhibition against North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D. The final roster will be announced after a pre-tournament game against the Czech Republic on Dec. 22 in Regina.
Here’s some information on the Wiercioch situation from Mike Chambers in Tuesday’s Denver Post:
A pre-existing knee injury has ended Patrick Wiercioch’s dream of becoming a rare NCAA player to represent Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
Wiercioch was one of three college players among the 35 candidates to make the 22-player roster.
"We all feel really bad for Patrick," Denver coach George Gwozdecky said Monday. "He’s among a select group of players at that level who had a chance to play at this very prestigious tournament. And, for many guys in Canada, it’s one of their dreams."
Wiercioch is recovering from a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, originally suffered Nov. 7 and aggravated Dec. 5. He played Friday at Duluth and, although he wasn’t 100 percent, he went into the series confident the injury would not affect his chances of making Team Canada.
"Our medical staff had been in direct contact with their medical team over the past four to five weeks," Gwozdecky said. "They were very aware of not only his injury, but how it was diagnosed and treated, and obviously the fact he had been practicing and playing. It’s very surprising they would bring him up there and decide to not clear him."
A frustrated Gwozdecky added: "They have no different diagnosis than we do. I think the bottom line with them is: They had 11 or 12 defensemen, and like it or not, this is probably an easier way to whittle the group down to six or seven. We all knew Patrick is not 100 percent healthy."