The Colorado Avalanche will have four prospects representing their countries at the upcoming IIHF World Juniors tournament.
The Colorado Avalanche are ensconced in their offseason with no real word on when their new season would begin. Some Avs prospects, meanwhile, are seeing some hockey action.
Four Avalanche prospects are representing their country at the IIHF Worlds Juniors Championship. The event is taking place in Canada. The tournament begins December 25.
The usual suspects of hockey countries will be sure to not only participate but go far in the tournament. Those countries include the United States and Canada. Both of those teams will feature Avs prospects.
Defenseman Drew Helleson is the lone representative for Team USA. The Colorado Avalanche selected Helleson in the second round, 47th overall, in 2019. The 19-year-old out of Farmington, Minnesota, came up through the elite US hockey programs. He spent a couple years at the hockey boarding school, Shattuck St. Mary’s, before moving into the US National Development Program. He played last season for Boston College and is committed for that program for another year.
Helleson has previously represented the US in international competitions. He skated on the U17 team at the World Hockey Challenge-17 in 2017-18. He also skated on the U18 team last year at the World Junior Championship-18. He earned gold at WHC-17 and bronze at WJC-18.
The US will play two exhibition games on December 20 and 22. They’ll face Sweden and Finland respectively. Their December 25 game, the start of their tournament, is against Russia.
The other three Colorado Avalanche prospects at Worlds will all be skating for the home team, Canada. These prospects include forward Alex Newhook and defensemen Justin Barron and Bowen Byram.
The Avalanche chose Byram with the 2019 #4 selection they held as part of the Matt Duchene trade. He’s spent the last four seasons with his major juniors team, the Vancouver Giants. He attended the Avalanche’s training camp last fall, but he failed to make a team overly stocked with talent. However, he was with the team in the bubble for the 2020 playoffs. He’s expected to make the team when the season begins.
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The talented Byram has represented Canada before. He skated on Canada Red U17 at the WHC-17 in 2017-18. That same year, he skated on Canada’s U18 team at the WJC-18. Last year, he was on Canada’s U20 team for WJC-20. He’ll be on that team again this year.
The Avalanche selected Newhook with their own #16 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Like Helleson, Newhook went the college-preparatory route. He attended the hockey boarding school St. Andrew’s College before getting drafted by the BCHL Victoria Grizzlies in 2017. During the 2018-19 season, he wore the C on that team. He spent last year at Boston College with fellow Avs prospect Drew Helleson. He’s committed to that program for another year. He earned the Tim Taylor Award as the top rookie in the NCAA last year.
The very speedy Newhook skated on the Canada Black U17 team at WHC-17 in 2017-18. He skated on the Canada U18 team for WJC-18 season before last. He’ll be on the Canada U20 team for WJC-20 this year.
Justin Barron is Colorado’s 2020 first rounder. They chose him at the #25 slot. Barron has been in the Halifax hockey system for a while now. He’s played the last for seasons for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. He’s been named the captain for this year’s season.
Barron previously skated on Canada Red U17 at the WHC-17 in 2017-18. He’ll now skate on the Canada U20 for the WJC-20.
All games are being played in Edmonton’s Rogers Place, where the Avalanche played their two rounds’ worth of games. Team Canada’s first official game is against Germany on December 26.