Ekblad to lead Canada at Ivan Hlinka tournament
Aaron Ekblad, expected to be one of the first players picked at the 2014 NHL Draft, was announced Monday as one of the 22 players picked to play for Canada at the 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
The elite summer under-18 international tournament will be played Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. Canada is the five-time defending champion.
Ekblad, a 6-foot-3.25, 213-pound blueliner, had 34 points and a plus-29 rating in 54 regular-season games last season with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League, and added 17 points in 22 OHL playoff games.
Among those joining Ekblad on the team are three players from the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL that are expected to be picked early at this year's draft -- defenceman Roland McKeown, left wing Samuel Bennett and right wing Spencer Watson.
Of the 22 players picked, 20 are eligible for the 2014 draft. Defencemen Ryan Pilon of the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League and Alexandre Carrier of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are eligible for the 2015 draft.
London Knights (OHL) coach Dale Hunter will coach the team, with Dominique Ducharme, coach of the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, and D.J. Smith, coach of the Oshawa Generals of the OHL, serving as assistants.
Canada will play in Group A, along with the Czech Republic, Sweden and Switzerland, and will open Aug. 5 against the Czech Republic at Alcaplast Arena, Breclav.
Finland, Russia, Slovakia and the United States will play in Group B.
Each team will play the other in its group once, with the teams with the best records advancing to the semifinals Aug. 9. The gold- and bronze-medal games will be Aug. 10.
CANADA HLINKA TOURNAMENT ROSTER
GOALTENDERS: Julio Billia, Chicoutimi, QMJHL; Mason McDonald, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL
DEFENCEMEN: Aaron Ekblad, Barrie, OHL; *Alexandre Carrier, Gatineau, QMJHL; Haydn Fleury, Red Deer, WHL; Joe Hicketts, Victoria, WHL; Roland McKeown, Kingston, OHL; Carl Neill, Sherbrooke, QMJHL; *Ryan Pilon, Lethbridge, WHL;
FORWARDS: Daniel Audette, Sherbrooke, QMJHL; Samuel Bennett, Kingston, OHL; Clark Bishop, Cape Breton, QMJHL; Rourke Chartier, Kelowna, WHL; Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa, OHL; Robby Fabbri, Guelph, OHL; Jayce Hawryluk, Brandon, WHL; Brendan Lemieux, Barrie, OHL; Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL; Alexis Pepin, Charlottetown, QMJHL; Brayden Point, Moose Jaw, WHL; Jake Virtanen, Calgary, WHL; Spencer Watson, Kingston, OHL
*- eligible for 2015 NHL Draft
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor