Hockey Canada has received a boost ahead of the upcoming world junior championship.
Forward Joe Veleno will join the team in the Czech Republic ahead of the holiday tournament after starting the season in the American Hockey League.
The 19-year-old from Kirkland, Que., has three goals and six assists in 25 games this year for the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins. He also has a minus-20 rating.
Veleno played for Canada at last year’s world juniors and had two assists in five games as the Canadians were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Finland.
Other names the Canadians are hoping return from their pro clubs for the event include Noah Dobson of the New York Islanders along with forwards Kirby Dach of the Chicago Blackhawks and Barrett Hayton of the Arizona Coyotes. NHL teams have until Dec. 19 — when rosters freeze — to decide whether they will allow players to represent their countries.
The Canadians are in Oakville, Ont., this week for their selection camp with 16 forwards, 10 defencemen and four goalies all competing for a spot on the roster.
Canada opens play in the tournament on Boxing Day against the United States in Ostrava, Czech Republic.