Seven Locals Played for Team Canada

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Updated: December 24, 2019

Dawson Mercer becomes the seventh Newfoundlander to answer the call to play for Team Canada in the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships slated to begin on Boxing Day.

Prior to the formation of Team Canada, the Memorial Cup champions represented the country in the World Juniors. This occurred from 1974 through 1977. In 1978, Canada went to the with a junior all-star team led by Wayne Gretzky and the late Don Johnson of St. John’s was the chair for that particular world junior championship.

From 1978 to 1981, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association iced an all-star team comprised of players from Western Ontario and the Quebec major junior leagues. It was in 1982 when Canada established the national world junior program that we see today.

The first Newfoundlander selected to play at the World Juniors was Dwayne Norris. The team went on to win gold in 1990 in Finland. It was Norris’s goal that stood as the eventual game-winner when Canada beat Czechoslovakia. The gold came after Sweden tied the Soviet squad 5-5.

The following year, John Slaney from St. John’s made the Team Canada squad. He scored one of the most memorable goals in Canada’s hockey history. The game was tied 2-2 late in the third period. Slaney fired a shot from the point and it found the back of the net, giving Canada the win and the gold medal in front of fans in Saskatoon.

Slaney would go on to play for the national squad in 1992 and be a part of a team that saw two Newfoundlander’s on the roster. Slaney was joined by Chad Penney who was born in Labrador City but grew up in St. John’s. Canada would go on to finish sixth in that tournament.

The next Newfoundlander to suit up for Team Canada was Harold Druken in 1999. A native of St. John’s, Druken would be a part of the silver medal squad that played in Winnipeg that year.

In 2000, Michael Ryder would be a part of the natioal team, winning bronze in Skelleftea, Sweden.

When the world junors returned to Canada in 2010, St. John’s native Luke Adam would be a part of the team. He would go on to win a silver medal that year.

In 2017, other Newfoundlanders were instrumental in their roles with Team Canada. Brian Cheeseman from Mount Pearl and Joey Garland from Carbonear both worked as athletic therapists. Cheeseman won a gold medal and silver medal with Team Canada.

This year, it is Dawson Mercer’s time to shine for Team Canada. Ranked by NHL central scouting to be drafted in the first round, Mercer is set to take the stage atop the world junior championships in a leadership role with Team Canada.

Play begins on Boxing Day.

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