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Still one forward will be cut as squad prepares for world junior tournament in British Columbia
COLWOOD, B.C. – An Islander has made Team Canada for the world junior hockey tournament while a member of the Charlottetown Islanders has not.
Summerside native Noah Dobson, the 18-year-old captain of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, becomes the first Islander to make the squad since Murray River’s Brandon Gormley was an assistant captain with the national junior squad in 2012 in Calgary and Edmonton.
Charlottetown Islanders captain Pierre-Olivier (P.O.) Joseph, a 19-year-old Chambly, Que., native, was one of six players released on Friday night at the selection camp in British Columbia.
Goaltender Matthew Villalta (Sault Ste. Marie), defencemen Jacob Bernard-Docker (University of North Dakota) and Nicolas Beaudin (Drummondville) as well as forwards Liam Foudy (London) and Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph) were also released Friday.
The team also announced forward Alex Formenton, an Ottawa Senators draft pick and a returnee from last year’s gold medal-winning squad in Buffalo, is injured and not able to play in the tournament. It leaves Maxime Comtois, who recently returned to the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League from the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, as the lone returnee from last year’s squad.
Team Canada invited 34 players to the selection camp and is now down to 23 (two goalies, seven defencemen and 14 forwards). It has to cut another forward to get to 22.
National team director Shawn Bullock said the team can wait until the tournament is underway before declaring its final roster.
The tournament starts Boxing Day in Vancouver.
Joseph, the Arizona Coyotes first-round pick (23rd overall) from the 2017 draft, played in two games against the U Sports all-stars as part of the selection camp. The six-foot-two, 168-pound left shot blue-liner has 25 points in 27 games this season for Charlottetown.
Dobson, one of the New York Islanders first-round picks (12th overall) from the 2018 draft, has 16 points in 28 games this season for the rebuilding Titan, which won the Memorial Cup in the spring. He is listed as a six-foot-three, 185-pound right shot defenceman.
Bullock said team officials have been in contact with several NHL teams about possible junior-age players being made available for the tournament. He said NHL teams have until Dec. 19 to decide whether to return a player to junior.
Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton is an assistant coach with Team Canada.
– With files from The Canadian Press.