Vancouver WHL captain expected to ‘do whatever it takes’ for Team Canada at annual holiday season tournament scheduled for Alberta cities

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Fabian Lysell is keen on the idea of ​​being a nemesis for one night for Vancouver Giants linemate Justin Sourdif.


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Sourdif, a fourth-year Giants forward from Surrey, was named Sunday for Team Canada’s entry to the junior world championships, which will take place Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer.

Lysell, who is in his first year with Vancouver, has been playing on the top line for the Giants of late, teaming up with Sourdif and Ty Thorpe. Lysell was named to Sweden’s team for the World Youth Championship last Wednesday, along with Giants goalkeeper Jesper Vikman.

Canada and Sweden are in different groups for the world’s youth, but they could end up meeting in the playoff round.

“Which would be amazing. It wouldn’t be weird at all,” Lysell said Monday of the possibility of lining up against Sourdif. “He’s a good guy. Hopefully that can happen.”

If that showdown happens, Vancouver defender Tanner Brown admits that he will support his three teammates individually, but “in the end, I have to be true to my blood.”

“I want Sourds to win that one,” the Kelowna native said, unsurprisingly.

Giants forward Fabian Lysell (left, being controlled by Kamloops Blazer Fraser Minten earlier this season) will line up for his native Sweden at this year's world youth tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer.
Giants forward Fabian Lysell (left, being controlled by Kamloops Blazer Fraser Minten earlier this season) will line up for his native Sweden at this year’s world youth tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer. Photo by Robert J. Wilton

Fellow blueliner Evan Toth had a similar mindset.

“I’m Canadian. Obviously I want Canada to win, but when you have a teammate there, you want them to do well too,” said Toth, who is from Winnipeg.

Lysell, 18, a first-round pick for the Boston Bruins in last summer’s NHL Draft, and Vikman, 19, a fifth-round pick for the Vegas Golden Knights in 2020, leave the Giants later this week. to begin their world youth preparations with the Swedes. The 19-year-old Sourdif, who was in the third round for the Florida Panthers in 2020, was on the selection field in Calgary this weekend and will remain with the Canadian side.

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Sourdif, who is also the captain of Vancouver, is the first Giants forward to join a Canadian junior team since Brendan Gallagher at the 2012 tournament held in Calgary and Edmonton. Gallagher, oddly enough, played a fellow Giants teammate at the event, facing defender David Musil and the rest of the Czech Republic squad in a game of pool. Canada won 5-0.

Giants defender Bowen Byram has played in the last two youth world tournaments for Canada. After last year’s tournament in Edmonton, he stayed with the Colorado Avalanche when he was 19 years old and did not return to Vancouver for the shortened core season that began in the spring.

Defender Marko Stacha debuted with Vancouver on the axis, after playing for the Slovaks in the junior world championship. Canada beat the Slovaks 3-1 in a group game last year.


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Vancouver Giants at Prince George Cougars

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Sourdif led the center in scoring with 34 points, including 11 goals, in 22 games. Despite missing Vancouver’s last two games on the national team field, he is still Vancouver’s top scorer with 29 points, including eight, from 21 games.

He’s in the power game and the penalty for Vancouver. He has played center and wing. Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck has used him on closing duties in the past, particularly in previous years when he played wing with center Milos Roman. He could play various roles with the Canadian side.

“(Sourdif) could do whatever it takes,” Brown said. “That is why it is there. It has a lot to offer. “


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The Canadian team will also feature Dyck, who is an assistant coach for the second consecutive junior World Cup, and Giants athletic coach Mike Burnstein, who is participating in his third tournament since 2019.

Sourdif is among 12 WHLers named to the team and joined by four other BC natives: University of Michigan winger Kent Johnson (Port Moody); The Kamloops Blazers center, Logan Stankoven (Kamloops); The Regina Pats Center, Connor Bedard (North Vancouver); and Blazers goalie Dylan Garand (Victoria).

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Vancouver (13-10-1-0) will not have its three players, coach and physical trainer for its next eight games, which sees them with three meetings with the Prince George Cougars (10-14-0-0), three with the Victoria Royals (8-11-3-0) and one game each with the Tri-City Americans (7-12-3-0) and Kelowna Rockets (11-9-0-3).


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The Giants have lost three straight games heading into a two-game visit to the Cougars that begins Tuesday. That followed a six-game winning streak, which had been preceded by a four-game losing streak.

“We have to polish it. We have to find a way to win. We have all the components, ”Toth said. “Yes, we are lacking boys, and yes, we still have boys leaving, but we are still a good enough team to win games. It’s about finding a way and maybe being a little brave to worry about the touchdown. “

The Giants had 16-year-old rookies Mazden Leslie and Ty Halaburda on rival teams at the Hockey Canada Capital City Challenge in Ottawa in November. Halaburda, a center, helped Team Black win 10-5 over a White Team team that included Leslie, a defender.

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