There is meaningful hockey in late July. The World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops, B.C. features teams from the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Finland. Canada and the United States will field two teams for the pre-tournament games, then condense their squads into one unit for the tournament, Thursday and Friday.
Four Pittsburgh Penguins prospects were invited to participate, but only two can compete. Penguins 2018 second-round pick defenseman Calen Addison (Lethbridge, WHL) will play for Canada, and fellow 2018 second-round pick Filip Hallander (Timra IK, Swe-1) will play for Sweden.
Pre-tournament games begin today at 4 p.m. when the United States (Blue) plays Sweden. The tournament games will be televised on the NHL Network. According to a press release from Team USA, “the six-game NHL Network coverage Thursday, Aug. 2, with USA-Sweden at 4 p.m. ET and Canada-Finland at 9 p.m. On Friday, Aug. 3, fans will see USA vs. Finland at 4 p.m. and Canada vs. Sweden at 9 p.m. NHL Network’s Showcase coverage closes with two of the biggest rivalry games in the sport on Sat., Aug. 4, with USA taking on Canada at 5 p.m. and Sweden facing Finland at 8 p.m. For the full U.S. 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase schedule, click here.”
Hallander missed the Penguins prospect camp last month due to injury, and it is unknown if he will play in the Summer Showcase (Pittsburgh Hockey Now was unable to confirm Hallander’s participation through Swedish news reports). Penguins undrafted free agent Jordy Bellerive (Lethbridge, WHL), who was injured last May in a fire, and Penguins 2018 fifth-round pick Justin Almeida (Moose Jaw, WHL) withdrew from Team Canada due to injury.
Bellerive, 19, was perhaps the Penguins prospect closest to playing professionally. The 5-foot-10, 196-pound forward earned a contract after stellar performances at Penguins rookie camp and rookie tournament last summer.
Almeida posted big numbers for Moose Jaw and was the Penguins fifth-round choice despite being 5-foot-9, 158 pounds. He scored 98 points (43g, 55a) in just 72 games.
The tournament is a big part of each country’s selection process for World Junior Championships in January. The next step for Canadian players is to be invited to the World Junior camps in December. Team USA follows a similar process. However, no Penguins prospects are on the USA roster.