Photo credits: Matt Murnaghan/Hockey Canada Images (Wood), Garrett James Photography (Lacroix)
Victoria Grizzlies forward Matthew Wood has been selected to play for Team Canada at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup under-18 tournament, while Chilliwack Chiefs forward A.J. Lacroix has been chosen to play for Team USA.
The tournament goes from July 31 to Aug. 6 in Red Deer, Alta.
Wood finished the 2021-22 season as the BCHL’s leading scorer with 85 points in 46 games. The University of Connecticut commit was awarded the league’s Rookie of the Year Award, was named a finalist for Most Valuable Player and was named a First-Team All-Star, as well as a member of the All-Rookie Team.
In addition to his previous tournament experience where he scored two goals in four games at the 2022 IIHF World U18 Championship in April, Wood also played in the Capital City Challenge U17 tournament in 2021 and ended up tied for the fourth-most points with seven in five contests.
Lacroix, who is a dual American-Canadian citizen, notched 40 points as a 16-year-old rookie for the Chiefs, good enough for fifth in team scoring. His 21 goals on the year were the third most among Chiefs players
Canada will play in Group A, facing off against Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. They open the tournament on Sunday, July 31 against the Swiss.
The Americans will play in Group B alongside Czechia, Finland and Germany. They open the tournament on July 31 against the Germans.
After the round robin, the semifinals are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 5 with the championship game set for the following day. TSN will broadcast all Team Canada games, as well as the semifinal and final.
Canada has won 22 gold medals in 30 years at the tournament, most recently in 2018, which was the last time they hosted. Team USA’s only gold came in 2003.