Rockets Cristall and Price to compete at 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship with Hockey Canada
Hockey Canada announced today the 22 players, including Rockets players Andrew Cristall and Caden Price, who will wear the Maple Leaf with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship, April 20-30 in Basel and Porrentruy, Switzerland.
The roster, which includes three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 12 forwards, was selected by Alan Millar (Tottenham, Ont.), director of player personnel, and Benoit Roy (Sudbury, Ont.), senior manager of hockey operations, with support from Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), senior vice-president of hockey operations. Head coach Jeff Truitt (Rosetown, Sask./Prince Albert, WHL) and assistant coaches John Dean (Don Mills, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Bruce Richardson (Montréal, Que./Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL), as well as goaltending consultant Justin Pogge (Penticton, B.C./Wolfsburg, DEL), also provided input.
“We are excited to unveil the 22 players who will wear the Maple Leaf at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship, as we believe this group brings a lot of talent and experience from the Canadian Hockey League and international competition,” Millar said. “We know this group is excited for the opportunity to compete for a gold medal represent Canada with pride in Switzerland.”
Among the 22 players are eight who won a gold medal with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (Allen, Barlow, Bjarnason, Cristall, Howe, Price, Ritchie, Wood) and three players who suited up for Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship (Dragicevic, Howe, Wood). The roster also includes four players who played at the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (Catton, Celebrini, D’Aigle, Martone).
Cristall was awarded the Rockets 2023 MVP award after posting a team-leading 95 points (39G, 56A) over 54 games, appearing on the scoresheet in 44 games this season and producing 28 multi-point performances. Despite missing 14 games due to injury, Cristall led the Rockets in a variety of offensive categories, including goals (39), assists (56), power play assists (24), plus/minus (+18) and game-winning goals (6).
“It’s pretty special, it’s an honour to be able to put the Maple Leaf on and represent your country in any form,” said Cristall. “Obviously, it’s a bitter end to our season, but getting that phone call was pretty nice to have my season not end so soon and hopefully help Canada win a gold medal at the U18’s.”
Price was named the Rockets top defenceman for the 2022-23 season. The Saskatoon, Sask. product led the Rockets defence core in assists and points. He nearly doubled his point production from last season, posting 40 points (5G, 35A) through 65 games this year.
“Anytime you’re getting a phone call from Hockey Canada, it’s such a great opportunity,” said Price. “It’s a quick turnaround, you’re in a tight series with your season coming to an end, and the next thing you know you’re getting the call. I’m so grateful to have the chance to go overseas and represent Canada.”
Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team will practice at the Swiss Life Arena in Zurich, Switzerland, April 12-16, prior to the start of the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship. It will also face off against Finland on April 16 at the Sportzentrum Heuried in Zurich and Switzerland on April 17 at St. Jakob Arena in Basel as part of its pre-tournament schedule.
Canada opens the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship against Sweden on April 20 at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT. It will also take on Germany on April 21, Slovakia on April 23 and Czechia on April 24 to round out the preliminary round before the tournament wraps up with the bronze and gold medal games on April 30. TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada’s official broadcast partners, will broadcast select tournament games, including all Team Canada games.
Since 2002, Canada has won four gold medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship (2003, 2008, 2013, 2021), in addition to one silver (2005) and three bronze (2012, 2014, 2015).
For more information on the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship, please visit the official tournament website at 2023.U18worlds.hockey.
Andrew Cristall and Caden Price will wear the Maple Leaf with @HockeyCanada's National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship.
— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) April 15, 2023