Home > 2014 Olympic Games Sochi, Team Canada > 2014 Team Canada’s roots planted deep in Canadian Hockey League

2014 Team Canada’s roots planted deep in Canadian Hockey League

Sidney Crosby in his Rimouski Oceanic days (Ottawa Sun)

Sidney Crosby in his Rimouski Oceanic days (Ottawa Sun)

Hockey Canada brass gathered at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke Tuesday morning to unveil the 25 fortunate players who would represent Canada at the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. Unlike most articles published following “The Announcement” that dissect and criticize each and every player selected, let us take a different approach and inspect the path that these players took as young players en route to the 2014 Team Canada Olympic roster. Not surprisingly, Team Canada’s roots are firmly planted with homegrown talent stemming from seven of Canada’s ten provinces with Ontario sending 11 players to Sochi. Four British Columbia youngsters, three players that called Saskatchewan home as kids, a trio of Quebec players, two Manitobians will be sent to Sochi, while Bouwmeester and Crosby will be the lone representatives of Alberta and Nova Scotia, respectively.

While the majority (an understatement) of Team Canada players competed in one of the three leagues under the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), Chris Kunitz and Chicago Blackhawks teammates Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews played their amateur hockey in the NCAA. Fellow ‘Hawk Duncan Keith also played a few years under the NCAA banner before joining the Kelowna Rockets (WHL) the year after Chicago drafted him 54th overall (2002). Considering 92% of the 2014 Team Canada roster suited up for one of the sixty CHL franchises, it’s safe to say that major junior hockey had a strong influence on the development of these Canadian stars. The Ontario Hockey League will send 10 grads to Sochi including three London Knights alum (Rick Nash, Corey Perry and John Tavares). Eight Western Leaguers will lace them up for Canada with the Kelowna Rockets having three graduates (Duncan Keith, Shea Weber and Jamie Benn). Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Roberto Luongo embody the small group who played their major junior hockey in the QMJHL.

Brampton Battalion grad Matt Duchene  (ESPN)

Brampton Battalion grad Matt Duchene (ESPN)

Come January 16th, Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene will celebrate his 23rd birthday, making him the youngest player on Team Canada joining John Tavares and Steven Stamkos, who just celebrated their 23rd. Goaltender Roberto Luongo is the elder statesman of the Canucks squad at 35-years-young but Chris Kunitz and Patrick Marleau share the same birth year as well and should provide some veteran leadership.

The nation’s hope for Olympic Gold rest in the hands of these 25 Canadian heroes and while every last one of them started their hockey journeys on Canadian soil, only five players have competed for a Canadian NHL team (Subban, Price, Luongo, Hamhuis, and Bouwmeester). Four of those Canadian hockey players remain with Canadian NHL clubs (PK Subban and Carey Price, Montreal Canadians; Dan Hamhuis and Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks).  Regardless of where each Canadian Olympic hockey player is earning their coin in the National Hockey League, you can bet that every last one of them is eager for the puck to drop in Sochi for their opportunity to bring gold back to Canada.

G Mike Smith – Sudbury Wolves/Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

G Carey Price – Tri-City Americans (WHL)

G Roberto Luongo – Val d’Or Foreurs/Acadie-Bathhurst Titan (QMJHL)

F Matt Duchene – Brampton Battalion (OHL)

F Jeff Carter – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

F Sidney Crosby – Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

F Ryan Getzlaf – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

F Chris Kunitz – Ferris State (NCAA)

F Patrick Marleau – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

F Rick Nash – London Knights (OHL)

F Corey Perry – London Knights (OHL)

F Patrick Sharp – University of Vermont (NCAA)

F Steven Stamkos – Sarnia Sting (OHL)

F John Tavares – Oshawa Generals/London Knights (OHL)

F Patrice Bergeron – Acadie-Bathhurst Titan (QMJHL)

F Jamie Benn – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

F Jonathan Toews – University of North Dakota (NCAA)

D Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)

D Pernell Karl Subban – Belleville Bulls (OHL)

D Jay Bouwmeester – Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

D Drew Doughty – Guelph Storm (OHL)

D Dan Hamhuis – Prince George Cougars (WHL)

D Duncan Keith – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)/Michigan State (NCAA)

D Alex Pietrangelo – Mississauga/Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL)

D Shea Weber – Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Breakdown by League:

OHL – 10

WHL – 8

QMJHL – 4

NCAA – 3 (4 with Keith)

Breakdown by Canadian Provinces:

BC – 4 (Price, Hamhuis, Weber, Benn)

AB – 1 (Bouwmeester)

SK – 3 (Getzlaf, Marleau, Kunitz)

MB – 2 (Toews, Keith)

ON – 11 (Smith, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Subban, Carter, Duchene, Nash, Perry, Sharp, Stamkos, Tavares)

PQ – 3 (Luongo, Vlasic, Bergeron)

NS – 1 (Crosby)

Thanks for reading,

@RossyYoungblood

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