Tippett, Comtois front Canada’s Hlinka entry

Aaron Vickers2017 Draft Center, IIHF, International Events, OHL, QMJHL, WHL

Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads and Maxime Comtois of the Victoriaville Tigres are among the 22 players that will represent Canada at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

The tournament will take place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Bratislava, Slovakia, from Aug. 8-13. Canada has won gold in eight straight tournaments, and 11 of the past 12 overall. Canada has also won 18 of the last 20 Ivan Hlinka tournaments since 1996.

“There’s definitely motivation,” Tippett said. “With the team we have, I’m sure we’re going to work hard to be able to make it nine. I don’t think its pressure. It’s motivation to keep it on our side.”

Tippett, fourth in Future Considerations’ preliminary ranking for the 2016 NHL Draft, had 15 goals and 20 points in 48 games with the Steelheads last season. He added five goals and eight points for Canada White at the World Under-17’s and was named to the tournament’s all-star team.

The 17-year-old also had one goal and two assists while representing Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 in April. He was drafted fourth overall in the OHL Priority Selection by Mississauga in 2015.

Comtois, ranked fifth, had 26 goals and 60 points in 62 games with the Tigres last season, and had six assists and seven points for Canada Red at the World Under-17’s. He added two points for Canada at the World Under-18’s, too. He was selected third overall by Victoriaville in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.

“I don’t know if there’s pressure,” Comtois said. “When Team Canada goes to a tournament they want the gold. We go there to win the gold. That’s the most important thing.”

An injury sustained in Canada’s final scrimmage of selection camp with force Gabe Vilardi, ranked third, to miss the tournament.

Matthew Strome (16th) of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Shane Bowers of the Waterloo Black Hawks (27th), and Michael Rasmussen (28th) of the Tri-City Americans are among the projected first rounders also named to Canada’s roster for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial.

Goaltenders: Michael Dipietro, Windsor (2017 draft eligible); Ian Scott, Prince Albert (2017 draft eligible).

Defensemen: Evan Bouchard, London (2018 draft eligible); Antoine Crete-Belzile, Blainville-Boisbriand (2017 draft eligible); Ian Mitchell, Spruce Grove (2017 draft eligible); Jacob Paquette, Kingston (2017 draft eligible); Markus Phillips, Owen Sound (2017 draft eligible); Elijah Roberts, Kitchener (2017 draft eligible); Jonathan Smart, Kelowna (2017 draft eligible).

Forwards: Jordy Bellerive, Lethbridge (2017 draft eligible); Shane Bowers, Waterloo (2017 draft eligible); Maxime Comtois, Victoriaville (2017 draft eligible); MacKenzie Entwistle, Hamilton (2017 draft eligible); Stelio Mattheos, Brandon (2017 draft eligible); Ryan McLeod, Mississauga (2018 draft eligible); Greg Meireles, Ottawa (2017 draft eligible); Michael Rasmussen, Tri-City (2017 draft eligible); Matthew Strome, Hamilton (2017 draft eligible); Jack Studnicka, Oshawa (2017 draft eligible); Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound (2017 draft eligible); Owen Tippett, Mississauga (2017 draft eligible); Joseph Veleno, Saint John (2018 draft eligible).