NHLer Matt Duchene a proud Haliburtonian and centre for the Colorado Avalanche is looking forward to representing Canada for the sixth time at the upcoming IIHF World Championship this May.
Duchene was one of 18 players announced as early selections for the national roster on April 19 which also includes NHL players Claude Giroux Mark Scheifele and Ryan O’Reilly.
It will be a fresh start for the eight-year NHL veteran (all with the Avalanche) after a forgettable NHL season where his team failed to make the playoffs finishing last in the league.
“This was the toughest year I’ve been through as a pro so it will be a breath of fresh air to play for Team Canada again. It’s always an honour to pull on the red and white” he wrote in an email.
Duchene didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “toughest year.”
However fans already know his point totals didn’t approach career highs and his name came up in trade rumours.
Without confirming he said “It’s behind me.”
The tournament he said won’t conflict with getting married to long-time girlfriend Ashley Grossaint this summer in Vail Colorado. He said “lots of family and friends” will be attending the event.
Expect to see Duchene around the Highlands this summer when the tournament concludes at the end of May.
Duchene and O’Reilly will be going for their third gold medal in this world championship. Both played for the winning teams dating back the last two years.
He is anticipating a leadership role and welcomes the opportunity to use his experience to help the team win.
“I have a ton of international experience at this point so that’s something I’ll be able to bring. I think with that I can bring leadership as well. This is my sixth time playing in this tournament so it’s very familiar and very comfortable for me. I think I can use that to play the best I can and help my teammates as well” he said.
The team opens the tournament against the Czech Republic on Friday May 5. The medal games are scheduled for Sunday May 21.