Oshawa Generals young defender to play for Canada at U-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup

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Published July 13, 2023 at 10:34 am

Ben Danford (Ian Goodall/Goodall Media Inc)

Oshawa Generals defenceman Ben Danford, coming off a rookie season where the then-16 year-old earned top pair minutes and produced 17 points, has earned a spot on Canada’s summer U-18 team for the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Slovakia and Czechia.

This will be the former Quinte Red Devil’s second time representing Canada on the international stage, after donning Team Canada Red colours at last year’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Danford had a goal and an assist in seven games as his team came home with silver medals after reaching the final against the USA.

In his rookie season with the Generals Danford appeared in 63 games and played heavy minutes throughout the entire season – including the first-round playoff series against the league-best Ottawa 67’s.

Three goaltenders, seven defence and 14 forwards were selected for the team, including two who suited up for Canada at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship and 20 (including Danford) who played in the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

“We are excited to unveil this group of accomplished athletes that have earned the opportunity to represent Canada and defend our gold medal at this year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup,” said the team’s Director of Player Personnel, Alan Millar. “Earning a spot to represent your country is an exciting opportunity, and we know each athlete will embrace the opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf in Slovakia and Czechia later this month.”

The team will practice at the Ice Palace in Budapest, Hungary from July 23-27, and will open the tournament against Finland on July 31. It will also face co-host Slovakia and Switzerland in the preliminary round before the tournament ends with the medal games, beginning August 5.

Canada has won 23 gold medals in 31 years of summer under-18 competition, along with three silver medals and one bronze.

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