USPORTS.CA – Four years after a bronze medal performance at the 2019 FISU Winter World University Games in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Canada is ready to chase gold.
U SPORTS announced [on December 14] the 23 student-athletes who will wear the Maple Leaf in men’s hockey at the 2023 Games in Lake Placid, New York, including two Greater Toronto Hockey League alumni in Kyle Bollers (Markham Majors) and Kyle Maksimovich (Toronto Marlboros).
Led by legendary coach Gardiner MacDougall, the roster is comprised of four players from the Canada West conference, eight from the Ontario University Athletics (OUA), and 11 from the Atlantic University Sport (AUS). The coaches and support staff were announced earlier this fall.
“We are excited, and it will be even more exciting when we get together,” said MacDougall. “Putting together a group for the first time comes with adrenaline and pride. They want to represent their area of the country with pride. There is an increase in energy and effort when you put that storied Team Canada jersey on.”
The 31st edition of the FISU Games is set for January 11-22, with the men’s hockey event running from January 12-22. The preliminary round will be played in Canton, N.Y., before moving to Lake Placid’s historic Olympic Center 1980 Rink for the medal round.
Canada’s roster features 2022 U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian Liam Hawel (StFX), as well as Second Team All-Stars Matthew Struthers (StFX) and Justin MacPherson(Saint Mary’s). This season’s U SPORTS leading scorer Bollers (Toronto Metropolitan), who has registered 27 points in 16 games, and Matt Brassard (UPEI), the country’s leading scorer among defencemen with 23 points in 18 games, figure to play a major role in Canada’s offence.
At the 2019 Games, Canada earned bronze with a 3-0 win over Kazakhstan in the consolation final. No player will be back from that team, but MacDougall has confidence in the roster he and his coaching staff have assembled.
“It is a unique challenge putting together a roster with so many great players available,” he added. “We have really good representation in our management and coaching staff, so they have a real handle on things in their own regions.”
Team Canada will open its tournament on Thursday, January 12 at 1 pm EST against Ukraine.
- Kyle Bollers (Markham Majors)
- Kyle Maksimovich (Toronto Marlboros)