Four Former GOJHL Players Headed To World Juniors Camp – by C. Scott Holland
It’s a highly anticipated time of year and for four former GOJHL players it will be an unforgettable time. The roster for Team Canada’s World Junior Hockey team selection camp has been named and among the players who will be vying for a spot on the team, which will play in the tournament to be held in Helsinki, Finland from Dec. 26, 2015 to Jan. 5, 2016, are four former players from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.
In 2012/13 the St. Thomas Stars had Lawson Crouse, an Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs star, who appeared in five contests. Pundits at the time said he had the talent to make it to the NHL and since that time he’s been drafted by the Florida Panthers and has played in the OHL. Crouse who only garnered one assist in those five contests in a Stars’ uniform was OHL Kingston’s top scorer last season. Currently Lawson is toiling again for the Frontenacs. The 6’4″ forward was drafted in the first round by the Florida Panthers in the 2015 Entry Draft.
He is one of 17 forwards and 11 defensemen who will be in Toronto from Dec. 10-13 trying to make the cut.
Also from the West Conference is Spencer Watson a former London Nationals player who appeared in 2 regular season games plus 12 playoff games when London lost to the St. Catharines Falcons in the 2011/12 Sutherland Cup. Considered a crafty offensive playmaker, Watson’s 5’9″ stature is his biggest drawback. However with Team Canada looking for more players of Watson’s size, the Los Angeles Kings draft pick could be a good fit. He is currently playing for the Kingston Frontenacs. His brother Matthew was a former Strathroy Rocket before playing in the OHL for Kingston, Plymouth and Peterborough.
Vince Dunn is a former Thorold Blackhawks defenseman who also a gifted offensive player. In his third season with the Niagara Ice Dogs, Dunn’s offensive ability could be a key reason why he makes Team Canada. With his 6 ft. 185 lbs. size, he should provide the necessary back bone Team Canada needs to obtain the gold.
Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood played 24 games in the 2012/13 season for the Elmira Sugar Kings and compiled a record of 10 wins and 8 losses with a 3.36 goals against average. The 6’4″ Thunder Bay native is presently in his fourth year with the Barrie Colts and has a gaa of 2.01. He is only one of two goalies named to the tryouts.
Hockey Canada VP of Operations, Scott Salmond, said, “We (Canada) need to be as highly competitive as possible.”
These players are all talented former GOJHLers and best wishes are extended to them along with hopes they make the final Team Canada roster which will proudly represent the country.
C. Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and currently writes for the Southpoint Sun. Among the books he has authored are: 75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/05 editions; as well as updates of both the West Conference and GOJHL Record Books. He was been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 27 years and served many years as a board member, statistician, press box announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington with his wife Susan. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org