Blackhawks defenseman prospect Ian Mitchell and Rockford IceHogs goaltender Matt Tomkins will play for the Canadian national team later this month in the Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland. Darren Dreger of TSN first reported the news earlier this week.
Mitchell, who is a junior at the University of Denver, will play in the tournament while on holiday break, while Tomkins will miss at least three possible starts against Central Division opponents: Dec. 27 vs. Iowa and Dec. 29 and 31 at Manitoba.
Mitchell has 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 18 games. Tomkins is 4-2 with a 2.66 goals-against average and .912 save percentage. In his last outing, Tomkins made 26 saves on 30 shots in Rockford’s 5-2 loss Dec. 13 at Belleville for his first loss after winning three straight starts.
With Tomkins at the Spengler Cup, Rockford head coach Derek King will have two goaltenders in Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen to use. Both goalies were projected to provide a 1-2 tandem at the start of the season, but Delia’s poor start to the season — allowing four or more goals in five of his first seven games — gave Tomkins more playing time.
Kris Versteeg, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks and former IceHogs captain, will also play in the tournament. He had one assist in six AHL games this season before he mutually terminated his contract due to injuries and taking playing time away from younger players.
Another former IceHogs forward in Chris DiDomenico will also play for Canada. He’s currently in his second season with the SCL Tigers in Switzerland after helping Rockford reach the 2018 Western Conference Final.
Finland’s KalPa won the Spengler Cup last year in a 2-1 shootout to end Canada’s three-year championship run. Canada is tied with host HC Davos for the most Spengler Cup wins with 15.