August 4, 2018

Lafreniere to lead Canada at Hlinka Gretzky Cup

Alexis Lafreniere is set to lead Canada.

Lafreniere, who had 42 goals with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, will captain Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Lafreniere, 16, is a potential top pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

He will be joined by 2019 NHL Draft eligible defenseman Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants and forward Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.

“We have a tremendous amount of maturity and leadership across all 22 players on this team, and we feel that the mix of international experience and their overall professionalism in how they approach each and every task will allow Alexis, Bowen, and Dylan to continue to help drive our group’s focus on our team plan both on and off the ice as we kick off this best-on-best competition on Canadian ice,” Canada coach André Tourigny said in a release.

Lafreniere, who was the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League rookie of the year in 2016-17, represented Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and at the IIHF U18 World Championship.

He reunites with Byram, who finished second in scoring among WHL rookie defensemen and was part of the U18 worlds team that finished fifth, and Cozens, who led the WHL rookies in goals and won the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL rookie of the year.

Canada won gold at last year’s tournament, then named the Ivan Hlinka Memorial, and has finished first 21 times in 27 years of summer under-18 competition.

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