Hockey Canada has officially announced who they will be taking with them to the 2024 U18 World Championships in Zug, Switzerland. The 23-player roster has been slowly crafted since Hockey Canada held evaluation camps this past summer. The months long journey is over and this signals it’s almost time for the games to begin.
Canada will be attempting their first three-peat since their three straight Gold Medals from 2012-2014, and it’s hard to argue they haven’t built a roster capable of pulling it off.
Canada will be bringing back nine gold medalists from 2023's U18s: Caitlin Kraemer, Mackenzie Alexander, Hannah Clark, Gracie Graham, Morgan Jackson, Avery Pickering, Charlotte Pieckenhagen, Abby Stonehouse, and Emma Venusio. That’s a lot of talent already, and they will be bolstered by top U18 players such as Chloe Primerano, Claire Murdoch, Morgan Jackson, and Sara Manness who have been tearing up other tourneys such as the 2023 Canada Games and U18 Nationals.
It's not just players (both new and returning) that will make a difference to the team: Canada will be seeing both a new and an old face behind the bench. Tara Watchorn, an assistant on Team Canada’s U18 team for the last three years, is now taking over the head coaching role that was previously occupied by Courtney Kessel. Watchorn will be joined by her fellow assistant coach from the 2023 tournament in Stefanie McKeough, while Vicky Sunohara will reprise her assistant role from 2022 after not coaching at all last season.
Canada is leaning more on their 2006 birth year group than they leaned on their ’05 group at the last tournament. There are only five players eligible to return for the 2025 U18 World Championships: Chloe Primerano, Sara Manness, Marilou Grenier, Stryker Zablocki, and Maxine Cimoroni. That’s not a bad thing, though – this ’06 group is extremely talented, with players such as Claire Murdoch and Morgan Jackson who have the talent to be one of Canada’s Top 3 Players of the Tournament.
The 2024 U18 World Championships are set to start Jan. 6, 2024 and end Jan. 14. Canada starts their journey Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. EST against Germany. Canada will be joined in Pool A by Germany, Finland, and Czechia, while Pool B has Slovakia, the USA, Switzerland, and Sweden. This is the first year of the new format where the pools are more akin to what you’ll see on the men’s side in terms of team mixing. Theoretically Canada and the USA could completely avoid playing each other for the time ever in this tournament. This is going to be a fantastic tourney, so make sure to catch as much action as possible.