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 Brantford Bulldogs

Marek Vanacker Named to Team Canada for U18 World Championship

April 16, 2024 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Brantford Bulldogs News Release

After a sophomore season in which he led the Brantford Bulldogs in scoring, top 2024 NHL Draft prospect Marek Vanacker was named to Team Canada on Tuesday afternoon to compete at the 2024 IIHF U18 World Hockey Championships taking place from April 25th to May 5th in Espoo & Vantaa, Finland.

Scoring 36 goals and adding 46 assists for 82 points over the course of the regular season, Marek Vanacker quickly became one of the preeminent offensive threats in the Ontario Hockey League during the 2023-24 season. Utilizing his blinding speed, silky mitts and next level release, Vanacker put on a show in front of his hometown crowds throughout the season. What stood out most about Vanacker's game however may have been the commitment to which he played, as responsible and hardworking in the defensive zone as he is on the offensive side, Vanacker turned into a trusted penalty killer and one of the Bulldogs most dangerous shorthanded threats.

Combining his incredible season on the ice with his community work off the ice, having been named Bulldogs Community Player of the Month and a leader in the community for school visits and events, Vanacker has certainly earned this honour and will proudly wear the Maple Leaf as he looks to help lead Team Canada to Gold!


CALGARY, Alberta - Hockey Canada has announced the 19 players selected to wear the Maple Leaf with Canada's National Men's Under-18 Team for the 2024 IIHF U18 World Championship, April 25-May 5, in Espoo and Vantaa, Finland. The Canadian roster includes a total of 10 Ontario Hockey League players.

The roster was selected by head scout Byron Bonora (Brooks, AB) and Benoit Roy (Sudbury, ON), senior manager of hockey operations. The evaluation process included input from goaltending consultant Justin Pogge (Penticton, BC) and analytics consultant Gianfranco Giuliano (Toronto, ON), in addition to the entire scouting staff.

It includes two goaltenders, six defencemen and 11 forwards, featuring 10 players (Beaudoin, Elick, George, Greentree, Leenders, Martone, McQueen, Ritchie, Spence, Wetsch) who won a gold medal with Canada's National Men's Summer Under-18 Team at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer, and one (Martone), who helped Canada win bronze at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship.

"We are excited to bring this calibre of young athletes together to begin working with our coaching staff," said Roy. "Having players who already know how to compete in a short-term tournament will also bring valuable experience and leadership to our team in our quest for a gold medal."

OHL Players Representing Canada at 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship


Ryerson Leenders (Mississauga Steelheads)

Carter George (Owen Sound Attack)


Kashawn Aitcheson (Barrie Colts)

Matthew Schaefer (Erie Otters)


Cole Beaudoin (Barrie Colts)

Liam Greentree (Windsor Spitfires)

Jett Luchanko (Guelph Storm)

Porter Martone (Mississauga Steelheads)

Malcolm Spence (Erie Otters)

Marek Vanacker (Brantford Bulldogs)

Hockey Canada announced the coaching staff for the 2024 IIHF U18 World Championship last Thursday, with head coach Gardiner MacDougall (Bedeque, PE/University of New Brunswick, AUS) joined by assistant coaches Travis Crickard (St. John's, NL/Saint John, QMJHL), Bruce Richardson (Montreal, QC) and Ryan Smith (Headingley, MB/Spokane, WHL). Dave Brown (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON/Erie, OHL) was also named to the team staff as a Program of Excellence Management Group representative.

Prior to the start of the tournament, Canada will play a pair of pre-tournament games against Finland on April 20 and Norway on April 23. The quest for a gold medal begins April 25 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT against Sweden. Canada will also face Czechia on April 26, Switzerland on April 28 and Kazakhstan on April 30 to close out preliminary-round action. The semifinals are set for May 4 before the tournament concludes with the medal games on May 5.

TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada's official broadcast partners, will air select games, including all Team Canada games and all playoff-round games. Check your local listings for details.

Since 2002, Canada has won four gold medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship (2003, 2008, 2013, 2021), in addition to one silver (2005) and four bronze (2012, 2014, 2015, 2023).

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada's National Men's Under-18 Team, please visit or follow through social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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