A pair of Simcoe County natives will be lacing up the skates in hopes of helping Ontario men’s hockey team repeat as gold-medal champions at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, being held Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, Alta.
Alliston native Jacob Holmes, 15, a defenceman with the York Simcoe Express (OMHA), and Midland native Ethan Larmand, 15, a forward with the North Central Predators (OMHA), were among the 19 players named to the Under-16 Team Ontario Roster on Jan. 7.
Team Ontario will be heading into the competition as the defending champions after having defeated Team Alberta four years ago in Prince George, B.C.
“I am honoured to be chosen to represent Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games,” Larmand said on Twitter after making the roster. “Looking forward to playing with this elite group. Congratulations to all of the players that were selected.”
Leading the 2019 men’s team will be head coach and Ottawa native Jeff Jordan, who led the 2015 team to gold. Assistant coaches will be Toronto native Steve Devine and Kitchener native Dean DeSilva.
Director of hockey operations for Team Ontario is Barrie native Darrell Woodley, who selected the roster.
“We are excited about the players we have named to Team Ontario,” said Woodley, who is the Director of Ontario Hockey League Central Scouting. “The selection process was extremely difficult, but I believe we have a team that is highly skilled and will push the pace at the Canada Winter Games.”
Ontario will prepare to defend its gold medal by gathering for a Pre-Tournament Camp on Feb. 11-14 at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence in Toronto.
“The goal for our camp in Toronto prior to flying out to Red Deer is to familiarize the players with what we would like to do as a team, but more importantly have the players get to know one another and come together as a team,” Jordan said. “If the team comes together and bonds, if we work hard and for one another, I believe the results at the competition will speak for themselves.
“Obviously we would like to set our goals high, but it will be with our preparation, work ethic and attention to detail that will get us to where we want to be.”
Featuring over 150 events in 19 sports and a major arts and cultural festival, the 2019 Winter Games will welcome up to 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches and more than 100,000 spectators, with a forecasted economic impact of over $132 million dollars.
PHOTO: Owen Sound Attack forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki is one of four members of this year’s Canada’s National Junior Team who helped Team Ontario win gold at the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Simcoe County’s Jacob Holmes and Ethan Larmand will suit up for this year’s Team Ontario squad that will be looking to defend that gold medal win from four years ago. TERRY WILSON/OHL IMAGES