Today Hockey Canada announced that two Colorado Avalanche prospects will be playing for Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. Conor Timmins and Cale Makar played well at selection camp in St. Catharines, Ontario this past week, and will have time over the next couple weeks to gel with the other defenders as Canada travels to London, Ontario to face the Czech Republic, and to Hamilton, Ontario to play Switzerland before setting up camp in Buffalo for Christmas.
Selecting the team this early in December is a great change from the past where the teenagers would be woken up at 5AM on Christmas morning and told they’re cut.
Conor Timins is in his third OHL season, and is scoring more than one point per game as a defender which is fantastic when someone is in their draft+1 year. I was at selection camp and had some time to speak with Conor Timmins about the juniors and his play with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
MHH: You’ve had a great season so far and just as you left the Greyhounds over took the Sarnia Sting for first place in the OHL.
Timmins: It’s actually pretty cool. I think we have a really special team this year. Everyone’s pushing for a championship, and it’s a pretty special environment now.
MHH: You were at Avalanche camp this year, how was that?
Timmins: I think it went really well. I went there with a specific role in mind, and obviously it would have been tough to make the team this year, but I think I learned a lot and grew a lot.
MHH: Was there anything specific you were asked to work on this year?
Timmins: Just my overall game, I have to work to be able to make that jump, so it’s on me to get there.
MHH: Is there any one specific or favourite memoriy you have of the World Juniors?
Timmins: I was a pretty avid watcher with my family, and we would always make sure to watch the Canada/USA game together. So if I get the opportunity to play in that game, the outdoor game that would be pretty special.
MHH: Did you see the field conditions in Buffalo on Sunday? Are you guys planning any precautions in case a blizzard shjows up duriung the second period?
Timmins: I don’t know, I think we’re just focusing on making the team first. We’re just trying to get there first.
Cale Makar is playing well this year with Massachusetts, the freshman defender has one goal and eight assists in 16 games - a good scoring rate for a first year NCAA player, ;let alone a defender.
When Victor Mete was sent back from the Montreal Canadiens his role on Canada became unsure, but he’s one of the surviving defenders and will now be playing for a top six role.
Today Team Canada defeated Denmark in their final selection camp scrimmage, after losing two games to the Canadian University All-Stars earlier in the week.
Now they will train together before travelling to London, Ontario for their first official pre-tournament game versus the Czech Republic on Wednesday, December 20th.