The officials responsible for selecting the players making up the Canadian National Junior Team representing the country at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship have made a sizeable mistake… maybe two.
In announcing the final roster this past week, Hockey Canada director of player personnel Alan Millar and company raised some eyebrows with a number of their final cuts/keeps prior to the team beginning a five-day training camp in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
The most notable snub is that of returnee defenceman Carson Lambos.
On Monday afternoon, Hockey Canada announced that Lambos was snipped from the team – alongside nine others – in a shocking move that will see the Winnipeg ICE receive their captain back significantly sooner than they previously expected.
Winning a gold medal during the Summer World Juniors this past August, Lambos did not crack the 22-man roster, becoming the first player since Chris Bigras in 2014 and Leland Irving in 2008 to be cut without an injury designation following successfully making the Canadian team the year prior.
Sure, he served as the extra defenceman at last year’s running, but you’d think that the added experience would have surely given him a foot in the door, right?
👀 Carson Lambos, a returnee from the 2022 squad, did not make the final cut for the 2023 U20 team. That is very rare.
And pretty surprising to many I am sure: https://t.co/RpIzFMkvaR
— Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) December 13, 2022
Opting to go with just two goaltenders meant two netminders were also cut from the group of 32. One of those: Winnipeg’s own Tyler Brennan. Likely pegged to be the No. 2 or 3 guy, Brennan was another surprising snip by a management team that will not have any Manitobans or members of Manitoban WHL squads representing Canada this holiday season.
Seven defenceman and 13 forwards make up the 20 U-20 skaters, with three defence cuts and five forwards cuts rounding out the 10 who did not crack the team.
Other surprise cuts were forwards Jordan Dumais and Owen Beck, while a few interesting keeps will surely be scrutinized as the tournament gets underway this Christmastime.
Pre-tournament exhibition games with Switzerland, Slovakia and Finland get underway soon, with the World Juniors officially beginning on Boxing Day. The Canadians battle Czechia in Halifax at 5:30 PM central. Every game of the tournament will be broadcast live on TSN.
For Manitobans, there will be no vested interest in the performance of the team, unless overall Canadiana is the way of keeping with the trends. This year’s running will be the first time since 2008 that there are no Manitobans, no members of Manitoban WHL clubs or Winnipeg Jets prospects on the team.