Hockey Canada announced today that Lawson Crouse and Jayce Hawryluk of the Florida Panthers are among the 30 players invited to their Junior Team selection camp for the upcoming World Junior Championship tournament which will take place at the end of the month. Crouse is the newest prospect in the Panthers’ pipeline having been selected 11th overall at the draft in June, and Hawryluk was selected as the second pick of the 2nd round at the 2014 Draft.
Both Crouse and Hawryluk were at Canada’s Summer Showcase back in August which gave the coaching staff a look at the players before making the decision as to who would make the team come December. Samuel Montembeault, who was drafted by the Panthers in the 3rd round of the 2015 Draft, was one of the 3 goalies at the camp but was not one of the two selected for the junior team today. We did a post (with lots of GIFs) recapping the performances of the three Panthers prospects at the summer camp which you can check out here.
Lawson Crouse will be on Canada’s Junior Team for the second straight year after making it last year as an underage player at 17. His size and physical game made it so he didn’t look out of place amongst his older opponents and he also recorded a goal and 2 assists. Crouse has been playing for the Kingston Frontenacs for the past 3 season and is serving as an assistant captain for the first time this year. He was chosen to play for Team OHL in a series against Russia a few weeks ago and served as the team captain then as well. Crouse has the chance to get top-6 time this year now that he’s a little older than he was during last year’s tournament and since he has shown he can produce offensively.
Jayce Hawryluk will be playing for Canada’s U20 National Team for the first time in his career after being selected today. He hasn’t represented Canada since the 2013-14 season when he played for the U17 team and tallied 2 assists in 6 games. Hawryluk is currently playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL and, like Crouse, was chosen to represent Team WHL against Russia last month.
The World Junior Championship will begin on December 26 in Finland and end on January 5th. Canada won gold last year after defeating Russia 5-4 in the gold medal game. Several Panthers players have participated in the World Junior Championship including Aaron Ekblad in 2013, Aleksander Barkov in 2011 and 2012, and Jonathan Huberdeau 2011 and 2012.