Of the 25 players on Canada’s men’s hockey roster for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, eight hail from Alberta.
– Calgary – Brandon Kozun and Mat Robinson
– Spruce Grove – Ben Scrivens
– Camrose – Karl Stollery
– Lac La Biche – René Bourque
– Edmonton – Gilbert Brulé
– Cochrane – Mason Raymond
– Lethbridge – Rob Klinkhammer
Adding to the Alberta connections, Raymond, Vey and Bourque played with the Calgary Flames, Kozun with the WHL Calgary Hitmen, while Scrivens, Klinkhammer and Brulé played for the Oilers.
Another defensemen, Cody Goloubef, plays for the Flames AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.
Head Coach Willie Desjardins praised both Kozun and Raymond in his opening statement at the team’s roster announcement on Thursday in Calgary.
“Kozun came in, he was a top-5 player the last two years in the KHL, a leading guy, we thought for sure he’d be on the team and he comes in and things don’t go well the first tournament, he’s supposed to be a scorer and he’s not scoring,” he said. “So what does he do? He finds another way to make the team.”
“The last tournament, he worked so hard, he worked so hard, we had to name him, just because of how hard he had worked.”
In a December interview, Kozun discussed what making the team would mean.
“Okay, they’re (the NHL players) not going, so then it kind of is in your head, well maybe I actually have a chance at this,” he said. “I never thought I would be able to kind of be part of something like this and just the chance to, get the chance to maybe be there is just an honour in itself.”
As for Raymond, Desjardins said his desire to make the team was almost hindering him.
“He was so tight before every game because this was what he wanted, he just wanted to play, like he’ll play better now,” he said. “He was just so worked up about making it.”
That was a sentiment GM Sean Burke said was shared among many players when getting the news they made the team.
“We had families crying, we had players crying, we had us crying, it was so emotional to hear just the relief on a lot of players,” he said.