Team Canada announced its Men’s Hockey Team roster and due to the NHL refusing to allow its players to compete, the team is very different than last time. Coach Willie Desjardin hopes to repeat Sochi’s gold medal success. The roster will no doubt have Canada hockey fans feeling let down. Having said that, we’ve known for a while that this team wouldn’t include star names.
Here is the roster in full:
Team Canada 🇨🇦 Men's Olympic hockey roster for PyeongChang 2018: pic.twitter.com/C55a2FyB3H
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 11, 2018
Canada has opted to go with experience for this upcoming Olympics. Selecting heavily from European leagues such as KHL, Switzerland, and Sweden- we have some names that are familiar. Ex-Canucks and Leaf winger Mason Raymond appears along with former Oilers and Kings stopper Ben Scrivens. Maxin LaPierre, Linden Vey, Rob Klinkhammer, and Chris Kelly also fly the ex-NHL players’ flag.
Anyone expecting me to rag on this team- better stop reading now! I can understand fan’s frustration; it’s tough not having Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, Connor McDavid, and co in South Korea. On the surface, this roster just looks like the NHL rejects team. These are players we vaguely remember when surfing Hockey DB or Wikipedia. But for these guys, this is a wonderful opportunity and I think its great that these forgotten men have a chance to shine!
The Olympics has always been about the nation- not the individual names on the back. These guys have finally gotten a chance to prove themselves one of the biggest stages of all. Let’s not forget it’s not just Canada who is affected by the NHL’s decision. Sweden, USA, Czech Republic are all missing key stars. Now with Russia being banned, it makes it a very level field. These players are not superstars, not even close. Only three of them still feature in the AHL. However, what we have are grinders, hard workers and guys who you can bet will be playing their hearts out.
Remember the ‘Miracle on Ice’ from Lake Placid in 1980? The USA was playing with college kids that year. Who’s to say Canada can’t still triumph with this group of veterans? It would have been great to see a CHL majority line up. When given the choice between the World Juniors or the Olympics, the CHL was always going to choose WJC. The average age in this line up is alarmingly high, but Desjardin doesn’t seem phased.
Fans might not want to tune into hockey at Pyeongchang (with the game time’s you can’t argue there) but I refuse to put Canada down. Ever since Sochi 2014, I have passionately supported my adopted nation. This Olympics feels more wide open than ever and we could still see some great hockey in South Korea.
In closing: Go Canada Go