Longtime NHL forward Eric Staal and 2021 top draft pick Owen Power were among the players named Tuesday to Canada’s roster for the Beijing Olympics.
Staal played almost 1,400 games in the NHL and won the Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes. He returns to the Olympics after winning gold on home ice in 2010 in Vancouver and most recently reached the Cup Final last season with the Montreal Canadiens.
Power is one of four players on the team under the age of 23 along with goaltender Devon Levi and forwards Mason McTavish and Jack McBain. The big defenseman from the University of Michigan was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and could be playing for them as soon as later this season.
Levi, who plays at Northeastern University, is expected to be Canada’s starter in net with former NHL goalie Devan Dubnyk surprisingly left off the 25-man roster. The 20-year-old is also a Buffalo prospect after being dealt there from Florida in the Sam Reinhart trade last summer.
McTavish is the team's youngest player at 18 and was the No. 3 pick in the 2021 draft by Anaheim. He recorded three points in nine games with the Ducks this season before getting sent back to the Ontario Hockey League.
Canada did not skew as young as the U.S., which has 11 players under the age of 23. Russia, Finland and other medal contenders went with mostly veteran rosters and stayed away from players in their early 20s.
Among the other Canada players with NHL experience are defenseman Jason Demers and forwards Daniel Winnik, David Desharnais and Josh Ho-Sang. Ho-Sang played 51 games with the New York Islanders after being one of their top prospects and is now in the American Hockey League with Toronto.
Since the International Ice Hockey Federation allowed national teams to bring six-man taxi squads to Beijing, Canada named goaltender Justin Pogge, defensemen Morgan Ellis and John Gilmour and forwards Kent Johnson, Max Veronneau, Chris DiDomenico as alternates. Johnson was the No. 5 pick in last year’s NHL draft by Columbus.
Canada is looking to win men’s hockey gold for the third time in the past four Olympics. Eric O’Dell, Maxim Noreau and Mat Robinson are back from the 2018 team that left with bronze when the NHL also did not participate.
“We are going there to win a gold medal,” Hockey Canada president Tom Renney said. “That is our job.”
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