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Countries using World Junior Summer Showcase to strengthen team bonds

by Ryan J. Harr

8/3/17



Plymouth, Mich. – There are less than 150 days until the opening faceoff of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, but players participating in the World Junior Summer Showcase this week are trying not to look too far ahead.

The showcase, held at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., features some of the top players under the age of 20 from the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden, who are auditioning to represent their respective countries in the big tournament in December.

“It can be little tough playing games in the summer,” Canadian forward Cliff Pu (BUF, 2016) said. “We are still learning how each other plays and reacts to certain situations. That’s one of the main goal this week. We’ve been building chemistry on and off the ice.”

Canada earned a thrilling 6-5 overtime win over Finland on Wednesday in its first game as a complete squad (they were split into two teams for Tuesday’s games). Meanwhile, the Finns have gone winless through their three contests, but for all the teams involved, the results off the ice matter more than those on it.

“While we would like to win every game, this week, it is about getting to know the guys on the team,” Finland head coach Jussi Ahokas said. “This week is also about the players getting to know each other as we will have some [more] tournaments leading up to Buffalo.”



The U.S., who will seek to defend their gold medal at the 2018 World Junior Championship, is taking this tournament as a chance to look inward instead of locking in on what their opponents are doing.

“Last year, winning the gold medal was a surreal experience,” defenseman Adam Fox (CGY, 2016) said. “It is a new year, however, and we have a new team, so right now, our focus is on ourselves and how we want to play.”

“This camp is about trying to find guys for the right spots so their talents can really shine,” U.S. head coach Bob Motzko said. “We have seen that in guys and we’ll shuffle some things around and hope to see more.”

While the Canadian and American teams are fairly used to smaller rinks and the time zone differences, but it’s taken some time for the players on Team Sweden (plus-6 hours) and Team Finland (plus-7 hours), who are also accustomed to larger ice surfaces, to adjust.

“We got here to the U.S. several days before the games began for the showcase,” Swedish forward Marcus Davidsson (BUF, 2017) said. “It took the first few days to get used to the time difference, but once I was able to get my sleep schedule back to normal, I was good.”

“In Sweden, we do not have a rink of this size,” Tomas Monten, Sweden’s head coach, said. “It is impossible for us to even try to simulate playing on this size. So to be able to come here, and not only play games on it, but to learn on it, I believe that is big for us.

“The rink size and the time zone difference are two of the biggest things we can learn from this week. Wins and losses do not really matter.”

All four teams return to the ice on Friday when Canada plays Sweden at 1 p.m., followed by Finland’s game against the U.S. at 4 p.m. Both games will be televised live on NHL Network (U.S.) and TSN (Canada).

The showcase concludes on Saturday.

Countries using World Junior Summer Showcase to strengthen team bonds

by Ryan J. Harr

8/3/17



Plymouth, Mich. – There are less than 150 days until the opening faceoff of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, but players participating in the World Junior Summer Showcase this week are trying not to look too far ahead.

The showcase, held at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., features some of the top players under the age of 20 from the U.S., Canada, Finland and Sweden, who are auditioning to represent their respective countries in the big tournament in December.

“It can be little tough playing games in the summer,” Canadian forward Cliff Pu (BUF, 2016) said. “We are still learning how each other plays and reacts to certain situations. That’s one of the main goal this week. We’ve been building chemistry on and off the ice.”

Canada earned a thrilling 6-5 overtime win over Finland on Wednesday in its first game as a complete squad (they were split into two teams for Tuesday’s games). Meanwhile, the Finns have gone winless through their three contests, but for all the teams involved, the results off the ice matter more than those on it.

“While we would like to win every game, this week, it is about getting to know the guys on the team,” Finland head coach Jussi Ahokas said. “This week is also about the players getting to know each other as we will have some [more] tournaments leading up to Buffalo.”



The U.S., who will seek to defend their gold medal at the 2018 World Junior Championship, is taking this tournament as a chance to look inward instead of locking in on what their opponents are doing.

“Last year, winning the gold medal was a surreal experience,” defenseman Adam Fox (CGY, 2016) said. “It is a new year, however, and we have a new team, so right now, our focus is on ourselves and how we want to play.”

“This camp is about trying to find guys for the right spots so their talents can really shine,” U.S. head coach Bob Motzko said. “We have seen that in guys and we’ll shuffle some things around and hope to see more.”

While the Canadian and American teams are fairly used to smaller rinks and the time zone differences, but it’s taken some time for the players on Team Sweden (plus-6 hours) and Team Finland (plus-7 hours), who are also accustomed to larger ice surfaces, to adjust.

“We got here to the U.S. several days before the games began for the showcase,” Swedish forward Marcus Davidsson (BUF, 2017) said. “It took the first few days to get used to the time difference, but once I was able to get my sleep schedule back to normal, I was good.”

“In Sweden, we do not have a rink of this size,” Tomas Monten, Sweden’s head coach, said. “It is impossible for us to even try to simulate playing on this size. So to be able to come here, and not only play games on it, but to learn on it, I believe that is big for us.

“The rink size and the time zone difference are two of the biggest things we can learn from this week. Wins and losses do not really matter.”

All four teams return to the ice on Friday when Canada plays Sweden at 1 p.m., followed by Finland’s game against the U.S. at 4 p.m. Both games will be televised live on NHL Network (U.S.) and TSN (Canada).

The showcase concludes on Saturday.

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