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North Vancouver's Macklin Celebrini makes Team Canada for world juniors

The 17-year-old is widely regarded as the frontrunner to be picked No. 1 overall in the 2024 NHL entry draft
Macklin Celebrini celebrates a slick goal he scored for Canada Black in a game against Finland in the 2022 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge at Langley Events Centre. Celebrini was just named to Team Canada for the 2024 world junior hockey championships. | Hockey Canada

For the second year in a row, a North Vancouver hockey star will be looking to shine for Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championship hockey tournament.

Macklin Celebrini, a product of the North Shore Winter Club youth system, was one of 22 players named to the national junior team Wednesday for the tournament running Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“Huge honour,” Celebrini said after getting the news that he’d made the team. “Like every kid, it’s their dream.”

Celebrini follows fellow North Vancouverite Connor Bedard, who lit up last year’s tournament on his way to earning MVP honours while leading the tournament in scoring and setting a Canadian record for career points at the world juniors. Bedard is still eligible to play in the tournament but is now plying his trade for Chicago after being taken No. 1 overall in the 2023 NHL entry draft.

Celebrini is following in Bedard’s footsteps, considered by many to be the likely No. 1 pick in the 2024 NHL draft. The 17-year-old Boston University freshman is currently second in the NCAA with 25 points in 15 games, including 10 goals.

“I was surprised at how good he was,” said Hockey Canada executive Scott Salmond following the world junior team’s selection camp. “For a young player, at 17 years old, to play the way he did here is exciting.”

Canada will open the world juniors with a Boxing Day matchup against Finland, followed by games against Latvia Dec. 27, Sweden Dec. 29 and Germany on New Year’s Eve. The quarterfinals are schedule for Jan. 2, with semifinals Jan. 4 and final Jan. 5. All of Canada’s games can be seen on TSN.

-with files from The Canadian Press