Brett McLean representing Canada at Spengler Cup tourney

Canada looking to improve on last time out's silver medal


While many Canadians will be reheating Christmas turkey leftovers on Boxing Day, Brett McLean will be heating up the ice in Davos, Switzerland at the 2011 Spengler Cup.

“The Royston Rocket” is part of the 24-man Canadian team announced Dec. 9 by Hockey Canada that will be in Davos for the Dec. 26-31 tourney. It is the second straight year that McLean will represent Canada at the event: last year he tied for top spot in Canadian scoring with one goal and four assists as Canada captured the silver medal, losing 4-3 to SKA St. Petersburg of Russia in the final.

This year’s national men’s team roster is comprised of Canadian players currently playing in Europe, as well as players currently playing in the American Hockey League loaned to Hockey Canada by NHL teams. Last year McLean was with Bern of the Swiss league; this year he is skating with the Rockford Icehogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.

McLean is tied for third in Icehogs’ scoring with 18 points (7g, 11a) in 28 games. The 5’10”, 185-pound centre notched 27 points (10g, 17a) and 22 penalty minutes in 2010-11 in 50 games with Bern, where he spent two seasons.

Originally selected by the Dallas Stars in the ninth round (242nd overall) of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, McLean previously skated for the Blackhawks from 2002-04, recording 11 goals, 20 assists and 54 penalty minutes in 78 regular-season tilts.

McLean has posted 162 points (56G, 106A) in 385 career regular-season games over parts of six NHL seasons with Chicago, Colorado Avalanche (2005-07) and Florida Panthers (2007-09) and registered one assist in eight Stanley Cup playoffs games with Colorado in 2006.

McLean is one of eight returnees from last year’s Spengler Cup squad and is one of  five players who have also represented Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship.

Along with Canada, this year’s Spengler Cup includes HC Vitkovice Steel (Czech Republic) and the host HC Davos (Switzerland) playing in the Cattini Group. Dinamo Riga (Latvia), EHC Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams (Germany) and the Kloten Flyers (Switzerland) comprise the Torriani Group.

Canada opens the tournament Dec. 26 against HC Vitkovice Steel at 11 a.m. PT. All of Canada’s games will be broadcast on TSN or TSN2.

Canada has appeared in nine of the last 11 championship games, winning the Spengler Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2007. Overall, Canada has won the Spengler Cup 11 times (1984, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2007) since first taking part in the tournament in 1984.

The Spengler Cup, held annually since 1923, is the oldest professional international hockey tournament in the world.

The 2011 Spengler Cup team was assembled by Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations/national teams, along with Hockey Canada’s national teams staff, head coach Marc Crawford and assistant coaches Doug Shedden and Trent Yawney.

“The players we have selected are Canadian ambassadors for the game, both in North America and Europe, and we are excited they will wear the Maple Leaf in Davos,” said Pascall. “We look forward to getting on the ice in Switzerland and representing Canada proudly.”