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Two northern players aim to make an impact at World Juniors tourney


Two northern Ontario players in the Ontario Hockey League won’t be home this Christmas – and they couldn’t be more excited.

Ben Gaudreau, who hails from Corbeil, and Sault Ste. Marie’s Jack Matier are in Moncton preparing for the World Junior Hockey Championship, begins Boxing Day on TSN.

Matier said it’s an honour to have the chance to represent his country at such a showcase tournament.

“It's a special time for me, growing up as a Canadian kid, everyone wants to play at the world juniors,” he said.

“It's been a goal of mine all year, and I'm proud I accomplished it.”

The Ottawa 67’s defenceman said the key to making the team came down to knowing his role and brining a physical element on the ice.

“I've always been a bigger kid, so just growing into my body and using it as a tool, just to play physical and box guys out and stuff like that,” Matier said

For Team Canada coach Dennis Williams, Matier brings a lot to the team.

“He plays inside the dots, has range, reach ... he knows exactly who he is and what he can bring,” said Williams.

“Obviously, we're not asking him to run a power play or lug pucks up the ice. It's about complementing somebody else on the back end.”

Matier is having a banner season with the 67's with 26 points in 26 games, and will now get the chance to protect another northern pickup on the team in goalie Gaudreau.

“Since I was a kid, I dreamed of playing for this team, so being named to the team is something special that I'll never forget for sure,” said Gaudreau.

He wasn’t sure if he made the team prior to getting the official word from management. But team officials liked his play in the under 18-World Championship where he led Canada to a gold medal.

“I think I just dialed it in, something I have to bring back to here,” he said.

“It’s been a little bit of a rough year in Sarnia, but I'll try to bounce back from that and get some confidence here which I think has already started.”

Canada plays Czechia Monday in the team’s first game. Top Stories

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