Earlier today, during the Edmonton Oilers’ annual locker room clean out and subsequent media availability, captain Connor McDavid confirmed the rumors that he’d compete for Team Canada at the upcoming 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships in Denmark next month.
Asked point blank if his plan is to play for Canada, McDavid replied, “Yep. Going to the World Championships is not where you want to be playing in May, but ultimately it’s so special to be able to represent your country. It’s fun, I remember my first year in the year where we were out of the Playoffs and I went and played the World Championships and won a gold medal in Russia. Those are times that you won’t forget.”
McDavid will join Oilers teammate Ryan Nugent Hopkins on Canada’s roster, as well as Buffalo Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly, New York Islanders rookie Matthew Barzal, Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot and former Oiler turned Islander Jordan Eberle. It’s also expected that Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat will accept his invitation from Hockey Canada co-general managers Sean Burke and Martin Brodeur. Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, Sens forward Matt Duchene and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price have both declined to participate.
McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins won’t be the only Oilers in Denmark, though. Leon Draisaitl will play for Germany, Adam Larsson will represent Sweden, Andrej Sekera will suit up for Slovakia, Yohann Auvitu will skate for France and Anton Slepyshev will attend Russia's brief training camp.
The 21 year old McDavid wrapped up another 100+ point season last night and clinched the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading point scorer for the second consecutive season. He also managed to crack the 40 goal plateau for the first time in his young career. He finished the 2017-18 season with 41 goals, 67 assists and 108 points.
As good as McDavid is, the most remarkable thing about him is that he appears the be getting even better. Here’s hoping he can continue to rip it up on the international stage and provide us all with some highlight reel material in between NHL playoff games.