The Canadian roster is set for the upcoming Winter Youth Olympic Games, Feb. 12-21, 2016 in Lillehammer, Norway.
Canada’s 17-player roster includes two goaltenders, six defencemen and nine forwards, and was selected in accordance with the Youth Olympic Games’ process.
Dudas and Busby were featured as The Next Ones in December while all three have been OMHA Players to Watch.
From their scouting reports:
Aidan Dudas: Dudas is absolutely electrifying and a player that keeps fans on the edge of their seats every time he has the puck on his stick. A tremendous skater, he has high-end skill, and has the ability to shred opposing defenceman with his elite-level one-on-one ability. He may be small in stature at 5.08 and 155lbs., but in the ‘new-game’ that has a focus on speed, skill, and work ethic, Dudas has all of these in spades and as a result will be an early pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.
Dennis Busby: Busby is an even better example of the altered role of defencemen and how they are called on to transition, lead the attack, and generate offence. He has all the tools needed to be a successful defenceman; he is a very good skater, has high-end skill, thinks and processes the game very well and is deceivingly physical. He will be an early pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.
Connor Roberts: Roberts is one of the best prospects to come out of Owen Sound in quite some time. At 15 years old, already standing at 6’3” and hitting the scales at 205lbs he is a man amongst boys. He uses his size to win space, push the opposition off the puck and protect the puck once he has possession of it. He skates extremely well for a player of his size and his skill level and hockey smarts are off the charts. Connor is undoubtedly the leader of the Highlanders and he is consistently counted on to generate offence for his team and make big plays at important stages of the game. Look for him to go early in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.
The players, born in 2000, were chosen by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel, with support from regional scouts, Carl Bouchard (Quebec), Barclay Branch (Ontario), Wade Klippenstein (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic), and Darrell Woodley (Ontario).
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the group of players chosen to represent Canada to compete at the highest level in international competition,” said Scott Salmond, vice-president of hockey operations and national teams. “This event is a unique experience unlike any other, and will be something that our athletes learn from and remember for a lifetime.”
Players were selected based on their permanent home residence, and players playing outside of Canada were not considered in the evaluation process. All regions (East, Ontario, and West) were ensured five players on the final Canadian roster, with the remaining two spots being awarded to the next-best players.
On Sept. 15, 2015, regional scouts submitted a long list of 125 players to be considered, before narrowing it down to approximately 60 players whose names were submitted to the Canadian Olympic Committee on Oct. 1, 2015. From Oct. 1, 2015 to Jan. 1, 2016, regional scouts evaluated players in regular season and tournament play and the final Canadian roster was compiled on Jan. 3.
The men's hockey tournament features five countries – Canada, Finland, Norway, Russia, and the United States - who will play in a round-robin format before semifinals and the gold-medal game. After capturing the bronze medal in 2012, Canada opens on Feb. 13 against Russia, and will also face Finland, Norway and the United States during preliminary-round play.
The 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games will also feature the Men’s Skills Challenge, where players will be able to showcase their shooting accuracy, puck-control, and skating agility. Carson Focht (Regina, Sask./Regina, SMAAAHL) has been selected to represent Canada in the challenge, which features 16 athletes from different national Olympic committees paired in head-to-head heats for points.
With files from HockeyCanada.ca