Former Barrie Colts goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood is one of 22 players named to Canada’s National Men’s Team for the 2019 IIHF World Championship being held May 10-26 in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.
Coming off his rookie season with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, Blackwood is one of three goaltenders named to the Canadian squad, along with Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carter Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The six-foot-four, 225-pound native of Thunder Bay, ON. got into 23 games with the Devils this season, posting a 10-10 record with a 2.61 goals against average (GAA), a 9.18 save percentage (SV%) and two shutouts in 23 games.
Blackwood has represented Canada internationally before, suiting up for the national junior team at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships. He finished the tournament with a 3.08 GAA and .885 SV% in five games.
The 22-year-old, who starred with the Colts for three seasons (2013 to 2016), was named the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year in the 2015-16 season. Blackwood led Barrie to its second-straight Central Division title, posting a 28-13-0-0 record with a 2.72 GAA. A fifth-round pick of the Colts in 2012, his .921 SV% tied him for the league lead.
Canada will have seven players on the roster who represented the country previously at the IIHF worlds, including gold medallists Sean Couturier (2015), Sam Reinhart (2016) and Mark Stone (2016).
Other players named to the roster include forwards John Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Dylan Strome (Chicago Blackhawks) and Anthony Cirelli.
“It’s always a special opportunity when you get the call to represent your country on the international stage,” said Jason Botterill, who is part of the Canadian team management that selected the roster. “The roster is a mix of youth and veterans who will help lead the way in this short-term competition.
“Our coaching staff is excited to work with these players as we get set for a competitive tournament in Slovakia starting May 10.”
Team Canada, which will be looking for its first gold medal at the tournament since 2016, will hold training camp in Vienna, Austria, including an exhibition game versus Austria on May 7.
The Canadians will open the world championship on May 10 against Finland. Canada’s other preliminary opponents will include Denmark, Great Britain, France, Germany, Slovakia and the Unites States.