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Scheifele, Maurice to represent Canada

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Paul Maurice is going to get a chance to work with Mark Scheifele in playoff circumstances afterall.

On the same day Maurice signed a contract to remain head coach of the Winnipeg Jets, he also agreed to join Team Canada's coaching staff at the IIHF World Championship in Belarus. His prized young centreman, Scheifele, will suit up for the team. Jets equipment manager Jason McMaster has also been appointed to Team Canada.

"Really, really excited about it. This is my first time going over. Mark Scheifele and some other young players we may see there are going to be exciting to be around," said Maurice. "Professional development is nearly impossible to do at the National Hockey League level. So, you can watch video and steal stuff. But if you can get around these guys and trade ideas, that's where I think you get a chance to be better. And now that I've got some big-ice experience, having spent a year over there, I think I have something to offer in that department. Pete DeBoer and I stood at each other's weddings. He was the first coach I ever worked with, back at Detroit, in the early '90s, so, I'm looking forward to it."

Phoenix Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will be Canada's head coach while New Jersey Devils coach DeBoer and Maurice will be assistant coaches.

Scheifele's NHL season came to a disappointing end when he suffered a knee injury in early March but he's healthy now.

He is among four players that accepted invitations Wednesday to play for Team Canada at the world championship. He joins Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers, Cody Hodgson of the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks defenceman Jason Garrison.

Scheifele is expected to take a top-six role with the team and could be Canada's No. 1 centre.

The Jets rookie spent the first few months of the season learning the ins and outs of the pro game. He hit his stride in late October, finishing with 13 goals and 34 points in 63 games while maintaining a plus-9 rating.

Canada has 16 players on its roster and will add a few more skaters and another goalie.

Canada's first game is May 9 against France.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 17, 2014 D3

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