Lazar earns ‘C’ on ju­nior team

B.C. cen­tre re­garded as an up­beat com­peti­tor

Metro Canada (Winnipeg) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

GRA­HAM HUGHES/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Cur­tis Lazar speaks dur­ing a team avail­abil­ity in Mon­treal, Mon­day. Lazar has been named cap­tain of Canada’s na­tional ju­nior hockey team.

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