There’s an annual discussion every December about the NHLers who aren’t loaned to Canada’s World Junior Championship team.
Let the record show Hockey Canada turned down one player with big-league experience on their own accord. Mississauga Steelheads winger Owen Tippett was the biggest omission when Canada’s selection camp roster was named on Wednesday. Tippett was selected 10th overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2017 NHL Draft and scored once in seven NHL appearances this season before being returned to Mississauga on Nov 6.
That, apparently, wasn’t good enough for Hockey Canada.
“There’s only so many they can take,” said Steelheads coach-GM James Richmond. “There’s going to be another 10 or 12 that could have been there. That just goes to show you the strength of the Canadian players.”
Tippett stayed in the NHL so long that his first junior game was played in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series.
Although he was a frequent healthy scratch for the Panthers, Tippett skated 11:07 per game when he was in the lineup. He’s had five goals and 13 points in 11 games with Mississauga since coming back.
“He started in the NHL. That’s a pretty good way to start the season,” Richmond said.
“There were some games he got pretty good minutes there. He enjoyed his time, learned a lot and now he’s come back here and tried to make himself a better player.”
When asked about Tippett’s exclusion during a conference call Wednesday, members of Team Canada’s world junior management and coaching staff refused to comment on omitted players.
Tippett is known for his heavy shot and elite offensive skill, but the knock on him is consistency and defensive play.
The situation with Tippett is reminiscent of Hockey Canada’s decision not to invite Max Domi to camp four years ago. Although Domi didn’t start the 2013-14 season in the NHL, he was drafted eighth overall and was regarded for his touch and creativity with the London Knights.
Only 25 players were asked to camp that year (32 were invited this season) and Domi didn’t make the grade as a top-six forward. Canada finished fourth — the next year Domi was named tournament MVP as Canada won its only gold medal since 2009.
It’s worth noting, this is the second straight year Hockey Canada has passed on someone with NHL experience. Defenceman Brendan Guhle wasn’t invited to selection camp last year after spending three games with the Buffalo Sabres, albeit as an …read more