The Vancouver Canucks 1st-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft played his first World Junior game Wednesday and picked up a shot on goal in a little more than ten minutes of ice time in a 3-2 win over Switzerland. Don’t expect a ton of opportunities for Jonathan Lekkerimaki, he just turned 18 and the Team Sweden roster is loaded with talented 19-year-olds. The powers that be didn’t have him on the roster when the tournament started and was postponed the first time in December.
Meanwhile, North Vancouver’s Connor Bedard, the projected top overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft who plays for the Regina Pats in the Western Hockey League, tallied a goal and an assist and a team-high eight shots on goal in Team Canada’s 5-2 win over Latvia on Wednesday. While Bedard played 19:03, Kent Johnson from Port Moody played 16:29 and had two shots on goal. His linemate Logan Stankoven from Kamloops had three shots on goal and won 71% of his face offs.
The Canadians are back at it again later today (Thursday) against Slovakia, as are the Americans and Vancouver Canucks 2020 5th-round pick Jacob Truscott. The defenceman and his fellow Yanks take on Switzerland in the late game.
Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has indicated he’ll be back in BC the last week of August and back at the rink and in the office around the 29th. Players will start to trickle back around that time as well.
While August is usually the deadest month on the hockey calendar, the World Junior tournament in Edmonton has dragged a full allotment of scouts and hockey executives away from their cottages and European holidays. Oh well.
August also means full training camps and the start of the hockey seasons in the European pro leagues. They’re in full swing, with the intra-European Champions League cranking up on September 2nd.
It won’t be long now folks.