Mark Scheifele has found just about the perfect method to extend his hockey season and test out his knee after having his Winnipeg Jets season cut down in March:
By pulling on the red and white of Team Canada at next month’s IIHF World Hockey Championships in Minsk, Belarus.
"I’m pretty pumped. I was excited when I got the call," said Scheifele today, not long after an on-ice session at MTS Iceplex. "Obviously, any time you can put on a Team Canada jersey it’s pretty special.
"The knee is feeling good. I’ve been continuing to skate and work out and get it stronger and it’s feeling really good. And there was no surgery and it healed on its own so that’s good, too."
Scheifele’s first full NHL season ended when he sprained the medial collateral ligament in a game against the New York Islanders just before the trade deadline. He finished with 34 points and was in the rookie-of-the-year conversation when the injury occurred, having scored 12 goals and 17 assists over a 40-game stretch before he went down. But it’s his attention to detail in his own end that also drew rave reviews, particularly from new Jets head coach Paul Maurice – who will also be heading to Belarus as an assistant for Team Canada alongside head coach Dave Tippett and Peter DeBoer.
Canada’s World roster includes Manitoba’s James Reimer in goal along with five players who have previously represented our country in the event and another eight, including Scheifele, who have World Junior experience. Canada's first game is May 9 against France.
"It’s pretty cool to do this much travelling and to represent Canada is always a privilege," said Scheifele. "I’m excited to get it started and hopefully we can bring home the gold."