Lazar earns ‘C’ on junior team
B.C. centre regarded as an upbeat competitor
Sens rookie ‘very honoured’ to lead Canada’s team in world championship tourney
Curtis Lazar has every reason to be smiling.
The always good-humoured Ottawa Senators rookie on Monday was named captain of Canada’s junior hockey team for the upcoming world championship in Toronto and Montreal.
“I’m very honoured to have this opportunity, and I’m going to take full advantage of it and go out there and play hard for my country,” Lazar told reporters at a hockey charity event in Montreal. “I know there’s a lot of responsibility that comes
Quoted “They’re great young men, they want to win, they’re great hockey players and they want to make a difference. This is what you need in your leadership group.” Team Canada head coach Benoit Groulx
along with this, but I’m just going to try to take it in stride and be myself.”
Canada’s coaching staff gave Lazar the news Monday morning, shortly after the team arrived in Montreal from Ottawa, where Canada beat Sweden 5-2 in an exhibition game on Sunday. True to character, the Salmon Arm, B.C., native was grinning from ear to ear when he was told.
“As usual, I was smiling,” said the 19-year-old, who was drafted 17th overall by the Senators in 2013. “It’s pretty cool. I didn’t know it was coming. Anyone could have it. I’m very honoured that my peers and my coaching staff think very highly of me.
“I’m a pretty positive guy for the most part. I’m always smiling and trying to keep the guys light. I like to lead by example. I really focus on little details, and I think that goes a long way.
“I want unity within the dressing room. Regardless of where you’re from in Canada, we’re part of a team now. No one is bigger than the team.”
Lazar, who has a goal and six assists in 27 games with Ottawa this season, was lent to Canada by the Senators last week. He is one of seven returning players from last year’s tournament in Malmo, Sweden, where Canada finished fourth.
One year later, Lazar is thinking of redemption.
“I was disappointed with how we played last year and the result we got,” he said, looking back on Canada’s semifinal loss against Finland, and the defeat to Russia in the bronze-medal game. “Second chances don’t come around too often. We’re fortunate to have this chance.”
Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters and Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice will serve as alternate captains for the tournament, which officially gets underway on Dec. 26.
McDavid and Reinhart also represented Canada at the 2014 junior championship and were teammates at the 2013 under-18 world championship, where the Canadians won the gold medal.
on captain Curtis Lazar and alternates Connor McDavid and Sam Reinhart
Curtis Lazar speaks during a team availability in Montreal, Monday. Lazar has been named captain of Canada’s national junior hockey team.