2 Newfoundlanders crack final camp for Team Canada ahead of world juniors

Zach Dean and Ryan Greene have a shot at representing Canada on the world stage this Christmas.

Roster of 29 will be trimmed to 23 by Dec. 12

Zach Dean, left, and Ryan Greene have a shot at representing Canada this Christmas at the world junior men's hockey championship, being played in Halifax and Moncton. (Gatineau Olympiques, Boston University)

Zach Dean and Ryan Greene have a shot at representing Canada on the world stage this Christmas.

The two Newfoundlanders have been invited to Team Canada's selection camp — a list of 29 players officials will whittle down to a final roster of 23 by Monday.

Greene, 19, was raised in Paradise and was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks 57th overall this past summer. Dean was born in Grande Prairie, Alta., but was raised in Mount Pearl and has deep roots in Botwood. He was drafted 30th overall in 2021 by the Vegas Golden Knights.

While their careers have taken them to different countries over the last five seasons, both players spent their bantam years with the TriCom Thunder, finishing first and second in scoring in 2017-18.

Canada has a deep talent pool this year, featuring Connor Bedard — the projected first pick at next summer's NHL entry draft — among 10 returning players from the team that captured gold at the last world junior men's hockey championship.

If both Newfoundlanders can make the final roster, it would be the second time the province has had two representatives in two years. Alex Newhook and Dawson Mercer played for Canada in 2020-2021, winning silver.

Dawson Mercer, left, and Alex Newhook have played key roles in Canada's success at the 2021 world juniors, with the duo inspiring players in their home province. (Getty Images/The Canadian Press)

Dean, playing with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season, has 35 points in 26 games. Greene, playing for Boston University in the NCAA, has 14 points through his first 14 games as a freshman.

Greene spoke with CBC News after being drafted by the Blackhawks in July, when he'd been invited to Hockey Canada's summer camp.

"I've never been able to represent my country like that in any way," he said. "Guys like Alex and Dawson have done the same thing, so it was pretty cool to get that phone call."

This tournament will be played under difficult circumstances, as the provincial leaders representing host cities Halifax and Moncton considered pulling the plug on the event during a disastrous summer for the scandal-plagued Hockey Canada. 

It's the first time the tournament will be played in Halifax since 2003 — an event that police are now investigating after sexual assault allegations surfaced against several Canadian players.

Many of the tournament's largest sponsors also stepped away from this year's tournament, citing Hockey Canada's response to allegations of sexual assault and systemic failures. Hockey Canada announced in October its CEO and board of directors would step aside.

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