The National Ball Hockey Association of Canada is proud to announce it will be sending 20 players along with staff members to Nitra, Slovakia in June 2018 to represent the Junior Team Canada Under 18 ball hockey program and defend their status as undefeated World Champions since 2012.
The Junior Team Canada staff were very busy in 2017 scouting various events including the Provincial Peewee, Bantam and Junior Championships, and the CanAm Junior Championship which has led to the selections of this team.
This tournament will afford players, in most instances, with their first international experience and exposure to high level, elite ball hockey competition, and will serve as a good foundation in their individual growth and development. The players were selected, not just for their obvious high calibre skills, but for their character, personality and community reputation as well.
High Performance Director, Steve Dockerty, stated, “The U18 squad will definitely looks ready to competing for gold once again, having a good mix of returning U16 champions, and many talented additions. Every year the competition gets better, but I am confident that the squad that General Manager Scott Jacobi and his staff have put together will once again be competing for the championship gold."
Dockerty, in commenting on the coaching staff selected, "we have such a strong group of coaches combining elite Provincial and International experience as coaches and in many cases as players, while also possessing strong technical backgrounds that will aid them in leading these young men".
Commenting on the goal of the 2018 teams Dockerty adds, “we have a Mission Statement - To prepare and assemble a team of junior ball hockey players from Canada to compete for gold at the WJC. To field a team that sets extraordinary standards for competitiveness, sportsmanship and team continuity. To create a ‘life experience’ for the members of the JTC and the officials.”
Ball Hockey is an amazing sport and these young men are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to compete with the best in the world and absorb the culture of Eastern European cities.” Dockerty concluded with “The ultimate goal is to ensure each player has a life experience that he can take with him for years to come.” Dockerty continued, ‘we are pleased with the scouting, selection and acceptance of the players chosen for the team.’
Dockerty has been a part of junior ball hockey for over fifteen years and attended the 2004 and 2006 as a fan and then started working in 2008 with the Junior Team Canada Program in 2008, 2010 and 2012 as well as 2016. “It is not only what will take place on the floor for these young men, as most will be visiting Slovakia for the first time in their lives, it will be the culture they will encounter,” said Dockerty. “As these young people grow up and have families it won’t be the medals that they come home with that will be mostly remembered, it will be the experience of visiting this part of the world, and we as management, coaches, mentors and support staff want to make sure it truly is a trip of a lifetime for them” added Steve.
“Having spoken to all members of the coaching staffs throughout this process, I am confident that the work that they have put in will translate into a highly satisfying trip along with a good showing on the floor.” said Dockerty. “In the last three international competitions the staff thought out all the little things and planned accordingly because once you start traveling with this amount of players plus staff in a short period of time through major European cities, it all has to run smoothly from start to finish in order for these players to produce on the floor.”
People that tend to be missed in these types of announcements are the local coaches, associations and family members that have helped the players get to this level, along with these individuals all those that scouted for Junior Team Canada at regional and national events should take pride in this team, as they too played a big part in the team composition.
“On behalf of the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada, I would like to congratulate the players and staff named today, along with their provincial associations, leagues, club teams, families, coaches and officials who have helped them along the way,” said Dockerty. With that said, it is with great pride that we present you the 2018 Junior Team Canada U18 players:
The U18 Team
~ Goalies: Matthew Stradling, TBA ~ Defencemen: Nathan Balkwill, Owen Bell, Zachary Berriault, Jake Deault, Cameron Owens, Clayton Stutt ~ Forwards: Diego Arreola, Felix Bourdon, Max Bush, Owen Dever, Malcolm Hurd, Matthew Iasenza, Ethan Lajeunesse, Cole Leal, Bailey Maracle, Landon McLellan, Tyson Moore, Robert Skolud ~ Coaches: Scott Jacobi, Tyler McClure
All for One!