seadogs feature

Sharing the dream

The Saint John Sea Dogs are well-represented at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, with four players chasing gold on home ice

Craig Eagles
November 4, 2018

Every young Canadian hockey player dreams of representing their country by donning the Maple Leaf.

It’s a dream that comes true this week for four members of the Saint John Sea Dogs, who are on familiar ice going for gold at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Charlie DesRoches, Josh Lawrence, Jérémie Poirier and William Villeneuve make up one of the largest contingents from a single Canadian Hockey League team since Canada went to three national U17 teams in 2014.

(The Sea Dogs’ QMJHL rivals, the Shawinigan Cataractes, also have four players at the tournament.)

“It’s huge. It’s everything you dream of as a kid,” says DesRoches, the only one of the four not to be taken in the first round of the QMJHL Entry Draft (he went at No. 32 in the second). “It’s going to be a real honour to be a part of [the tournament]. I just want to take it all in and not take it for granted.”

The Saint John quartet may only be 16, but their childhood memories of watching Team Canada have certainly inspired them on their journey thus far.

Every passionate Canadian hockey fan has their own Team Canada memory – from Paul Henderson in 1972, to Wayne Gretzky hooking up with Mario Lemieux in 1987, to Sidney Crosby and the Golden Goal in 2010 – and these four are no different.

“My family and I always watched the World Juniors,” says Lawrence, one of two New Brunswick products to make the final Team Canada cut. “It’s an unbelievable feeling and it gives you chills to think about representing your country.

“I remember screaming and yelling when Crosby scored in 2010. It was a crazy feeling watching that and now to put on a Maple Leaf, it’s a dream come true.”

And while the chance to make memories of their own is front of mind, the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge presents an even bigger opportunity – to grow, develop and take what they learn back to the Sea Dogs.

Saint John head coach Josh Dixon – who has U17 experience of his own as an assistant coach with Canada Black in 2014 – knows what the tournament can do for a young player’s game, and their confidence.

“I’m excited for all four young men to have the opportunity to represent their country,” Dixon says. “The U17s will make them all better individually, and most importantly it will make them all better team players the next time they play for Canada and for the Sea Dogs.”

Just one small catch – they’ll have to learn to be better team players … on separate teams.

When Canadian rosters were announced in late October, the four Sea Dogs were spread across the three teams – DesRoches and Poirier will play for Canada White, Lawrence for Canada Black and Villeneuve for Canada Red.

Before they had even traded in their Sea Dogs sweaters for Canadian colours, the friendly rivalry had already begun.

“It’s going to be a great tournament, but there’s also bragging rights on the line,” says DesRoches.

“I’m playing against Charlie and Jérémie the first game so we have been going at it a little bit,” adds Lawrence. “It’s all in fun, but I’m just really excited to get the tournament started.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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