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Meet the QMJHL players proudly representing Canada at the 2020 World Juniors

Every holiday season, the nation turns its attention to the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. A tradition in countless hockey-mad homes, this year’s event takes place in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic from December 26th until January 5th.

The 2020 edition of Team Canada holds specific interest for fans of the QMJHL, with six current or former players dotting the roster. Here’s a closer look at that contingent:

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  • OLIVIER RODRIGUE – GOALTENDER – MONCTON WILDCATS

The Moncton Wildcats have spent the bulk of the season at or near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. A key reason for that is the play of Olivier Rodrigue. Acquired from Drummondville in the off-season, the 19-year-old Edmonton Oilers prospect from Chicoutimi, Quebec has notched 15 victories so far this season, while sporting a GAA of 2.79 and a career-best .907% save percentage.

Hockey Canada Experience:
2015-16
Youth Olympic Games (Silver), 2016-17 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, 2017-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (Gold), 2017-18 IIHF World U-18 Championship

  • JARED MCISAAC – DEFENSEMAN – HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS

One of two holdovers on the blueline from 2019’s squad, Jared McIsaac will be getting his feet wet for the season at this year’s tournament. The 19-year-old from Truro, Nova Scotia has suited up just three times for the Moose this campaign following his off-season shoulder surgery. A second-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings in 2018, McIsaac will be called upon to log heavy minutes on the red-and-white’s back end.

Hockey Canada Experience:
2015-16
Youth Olympic Games (Silver), 2016-17 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, 2016-17 IIHF World U-18 Championship, 2017-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (Gold), 2017-18 IIHF World U-18 Championship, 2018-19 IIHF World Junior Championship

  • RAPHAEL LAVOIE – RIGHT WING – HALIFAX MOOSEHEADS

After being cut from Team Canada’s selection camp last year, the 19-year-old from Chambly, Quebec used that setback as motivation, leading the “Q” in playoff goals (20) last spring. After being selected in the second round by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2019 NHL Draft, Lavoie made his way back to Halifax, where he finds himself with a team-best 44 points (18G-26A) in 30 games so far this campaign.

Hockey Canada Experience:
2016-17
World U-17 Hockey Challenge, 2017-18 IIHF World U-18 Championship

  • DAWSON MERCER – CENTER – DRUMMONDVILLE VOLTIGEURS

No player in the QMJHL has enjoyed such a meteoric rise since the start of the season like Bay Roberts, Newfoundland’s Dawson Mercer. The eighth overall selection in the 2017 QMJHL Draft, 18-year-old Mercer dazzled during the CIBC Canada Russia Series last month. He has also found himself listed as an “A” prospect in the initial Central Scouting Rankings in advance of the 2020 NHL Draft. On top off all of this, Mercer has helped propel his Voltigeurs to a surprising spot in the top half of the league standings thanks to his 42 points (18G-24A) in 26 games thus far.

Hockey Canada Experience:
2017-18
World U-17 Hockey Challenge

  • ALEXIS LAFRENIERE – LEFT WING – RIMOUSKI OCEANIC

The projected first overall selection at the 2020 NHL Draft has picked up right where he left off last year. The reigning QMJHL and CHL Player of the Year leaves for the Czech Republic atop the league scoring derby with 70 points (23G-47A) in 32 games. The first overall selection at the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft, the 18-year-old from Saint-Eustache, Quebec has captained the Oceanic towards the top of the league standings. Now, he looks to avenge Canada’s sixth-place finish at the 2019 World Juniors as a key returnee to the squad.

Hockey Canada Experience:
2017-18
World U-17 Hockey Challenge (Silver), 2017-18 IIHF World U-18 Championship, 2018-19 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (Gold), 2018-19 IIHF World Junior Championship

  • JOSEPH VELENO – CENTER – GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS (AHL)

Only twice has a QMJHL alumnus cracked Team Canada’s roster while playing in a professional league. The last time, it was Patrice Bergeron in 2005. Now, it’s Veleno’s turn. The 19-year-old from Kirkland, Quebec was afforded the chance to turn pro this year thanks to being granted exceptional status as a 15-year-old back in 2015. Though still getting his feet wet at the next level, his stellar junior career – 266 points in 230 regular season games plus a President Cup victory with the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2017 – should prove invaluable. The 2017 Detroit Red Wings first rounder is making his second straight appearance at the tournament.

Hockey Canada Experience:
2015-16
World U-17 Hockey Challenge, 2016-17 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, 2017-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (Gold), 2017-18 IIHF World U-18 Championship, 2018-19 IIHF World Junior Championship

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Team Canada’s first game at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship takes place today, on Boxing Day, when it faces off against Team USA at 1pm ET/2pm AT.

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