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Hockey Canada honours Arnsby

NORTH BAY, Ont. — Forward Liam Arnsby of the North Bay Battalion is among 13 Ontario Hockey League players recognized by Hockey Canada as those who would have attended a camp for a chance to compete for a spot on the Canadian summer under-18 team in the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Alberta.

The tournament, scheduled Aug. 3-8 at Edmonton and Red Deer, was cancelled April 28 because of the coronavirus pandemic. A total of 46 players, including 42 who played on one of three Canadian entries in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge last November, were to have been invited. Head coach Alan Letang of the Owen Sound Attack was recognized as an assistant coach, along with nine OHL forwards, two defencemen and two goaltenders.

Arnsby, a native of Ajax, Ont., played centre and right wing with the Battalion in his rookie OHL season after being the club’s first-round choice, ninth overall, in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection from the Don Mills Flyers minor midgets. In 55 games, he scored four goals and earned 16 assists for 20 points with 63 penalty minutes.

He skated for Canada White in the World Under-17 Challenge at the Western Hockey League centres of Medicine Hat and Swift Current, drawing one assist in six games.

The five-foot-10, 172-pound Arnsby turns 17 on Nov. 20.

Also on the list of invitees to the cancelled camp is goaltender Benjamin Gaudreau of the Sarnia Sting, who was selected seventh overall in 2019 from the North Bay Trappers minor midgets. Gaudreau, a Corbeil resident, posted a won-lost-extended record of 10-13-1 with a 4.34 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage for Sarnia last season.

“It is important for Hockey Canada to recognize the work the players and coaching staff already put in to prepare for the summer and a chance to compete for gold on home ice,” Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of national teams for Hockey Canada, said in a release Thursday.

“It was a difficult decision to cancel the tournament, as it provides the opportunity to showcase the top under-18 players in a best-on-best international showcase. We want to recognize the 46 players and our three coaches for this tremendous accomplishment, and we look forward to watching all players continue to develop as they look ahead to next season and a chance to compete at the (International Ice Hockey Federation) U18 World Championship.”

No host city has been announced.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are to play host to the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup before it’s held at Edmonton and Red Deer in 2022.

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