Lazar named Canada’s world junior captain

Senators rookie Curtis Lazar named captain of Canada's world junior team

  • Dec. 22, 2014 10:00 a.m.
Ottawa Senators draft pick Curtis Lazar

Ottawa Senators draft pick Curtis Lazar

By Kelsey Patterson, The Canadian Press

MONTREAL – Curtis Lazar has every reason to be smiling.

The always good-humoured Ottawa Senators rookie on Monday was named captain of Canada’s junior hockey team for the upcoming world championship in Toronto and Montreal.

“I’m very honoured to have this opportunity, and I’m going to take full advantage of it and go out there and play hard for my country,” Lazar told reporters at a hockey charity event in Montreal. “I know there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with this, but I’m just going to try to take it in stride and be myself.”

Canada’s coaching staff gave Lazar the news Monday morning, shortly after the team arrived in Montreal from Ottawa where Canada beat Sweden 5-2 in an exhibition game on Sunday. True to character, the Salmon Arm, B.C., native was grinning from ear to ear when he was told.

“As usual, I was smiling,” said the 19-year-old, who was drafted 17th overall by the Senators in 2013. “It’s pretty cool. I didn’t know it was coming. Anyone could have it. I’m very honoured that my peers and my coaching staff think very highly of me.

“I’m a pretty positive guy for the most part. I’m always smiling and trying to keep the guys light. I like to lead by example. I really focus on little details, and I think that goes a long way.

“I want unity within the dressing room. Regardless of where you’re from in Canada, we’re part of a team now. No one is bigger than the team.”

Lazar, who has a goal and six assists in 27 games with Ottawa this season, was loaned to Canada by the Senators last week. He is one of seven returning players from last year’s tournament in Malmo, Sweden, where Canada finished fourth.

One year later, Lazar is thinking of redemption.

“I was disappointed with how we played last year and the result we got,” he said, looking back on Canada’s semifinal loss against Finland, and the defeat to Russia in the bronze-medal game. “Second chances don’t come around too often. We’re fortunate to have this chance.”

Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters and Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice will serve as alternate captains for the tournament, which officially gets underway on Dec. 26.

McDavid and Reinhart also represented Canada at the 2014 junior championship and were teammates at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, where the Canadians won the gold medal.

The 17-year-old McDavid, who is touted as the best forward in the upcoming 2015 NHL draft, had nothing but praise for his new captain.

“He’s always positive, and he always has a smile on his face,” McDavid said of Lazar. “Nothing seems to bring him down. He’s the perfect guy for the job. The ups and downs of this tournament are pretty crazy, but he never seems to go down. He’s going to be a good captain.”

McDavid, who played for the first time on Sunday since breaking his right hand in November, has a blistering 51 points for the Otters in 18 games this season. Reinhart, meanwhile, played nine games with the Buffalo Sabres at the start of this season before returning to the Western Hockey League in October.

“To wear a letter is something special,” said McDavid. “But there are 22 leaders on this team — it’s not just three guys. The letter is special, but everyone is a leader.”

Head coach Benoit Groulx knows exactly what kind of player it takes to lead a team to victory.

“Sam, Curtis and Connor have the same qualities,” said Groulx, winner of three Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championships as head coach. “They’re great young men, they want to win, they’re great hockey players, and they want to make a difference. This is what you need in your leadership group.

“It was an obvious choice.”

Although he’s just 19, Lazar wants to use his world junior and NHL experience to guide some of the younger players on Canada’s roster. He says he wants them to pay attention to detail, and to really enjoy the tournament.

But overall, Lazar wants to win. He wants to know what it means to wear a gold medal around his neck.

“It would be very cool,” he said. “That’s one thing I want to check off my junior resume.”

Canada plays one more exhibition game versus Switzerland on Tuesday before their tournament opens on Boxing Day with a game against Slovakia at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Notes: The Canadians will also play Germany, Finland and the United States in the group stage. … Canada’s junior team gathered at McGill University’s McConnell Arena in Montreal on Monday to help launch “The Big Play” program, which aims to get kids across the country in minor hockey. … Lazar also played at the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and with Canada’s men’s under-18 team. … The world junior gold medal game will be played Jan. 5 in Toronto.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Zahra Rayani-Kanji of Heart Pharmacy, Sidney Pharmacy manager James McCullough, and Naz Rayani, owner and founder of Heart Pharmacy, join sisters Becky Brigham and Judy Costanzo outside the business. Sidney Pharmacy has become the sixth Heart Pharmacy outlet in Greater Victoria after its purchase from Brigham and Costanzo. Their parents, Frances and Jim Brigham, first opened the business in 1959. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney Pharmacy changes ownership, but retains family tradition

First opened by Frances and Jim Brigham in 1959, Sidney Pharmacy is now part of Heart Pharmacy

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past warned of Öffnungsdiskusionorgien (translated as an orgy of discussions about openings), one of one of the 1,200 words added to the German lexicon as reported by the Leibniz Institute for the German Language. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)
German lexicon grows by 1,200 words, many inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Öffnungsdiskusionorgie (orgy of discussions about openings) among new entries

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Most Read