The Blackhawks will conditionally loan center Kirby Dach to the Canadian men’s national team for the 2021 World Junior Championship, Hockey Canada announced Thursday.
Alan Millar, U20 lead, Program of Excellence management group, just announced the forward Kirby Dach (CHI) has been added to the select camp roster for Canada.— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) October 29, 2020
Hockey Canada released its selection camp roster with 47 players (27 forwards, 15 defensemen and five goaltenders) and will run its camp from Nov. 16 to Dec. 13 at Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, Alberta. There will be practices to start the camp until Dec. 5, then they will play two friendly games Dec. 6 and 7 followed by another week of practice before two more friendly games Dec. 12 and 13. The team will then enter the bubble in Edmonton to prepare for the tournament.
The IIHF will be expanding WJC rosters from the traditional 23 players (including 3 goalies) to 25 players (that incorporates 2 additional skaters) due to the unusual circumstances surrounding COVID.— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) October 29, 2020
The 19-year-old Dach, who is from St. Albert, Alberta, would return to the Blackhawks if the team’s NHL training camp starts before the 2021 World Juniors, according to Darren Dreger of TSN. The NHL has set Jan. 1 as the target start date for the 2021 season, with training camps likely needing to be at least two weeks before the season begins.
Hockey Canada Sr VP of national teams Scott Salmond:— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 29, 2020
"I talked to Stan Bowman this morning & we agreed that if the NHL was playing on Jan. 1 that [Dach] would be returned to the Blackhawks. If they're not playing, he will remain with the national junior team"
The WJC will have exhibition games from Dec. 20-23 before the round robin play begins on Dec. 25 and runs until Dec. 31. Bracket play will have quarterfinals and semifinals Jan. 2 and 3, respectively, before the bronze- and gold-medal games Jan. 5.
If Dach does return to Chicago before the WJC officially is underway, he’ll already have had some practice time with his peers at Canada’s selection camp. If the NHL does not start on time, Dach will remain with Canada and return to the Blackhawks when the tournament ends — or, whenever the NHL starts.
Dach scored 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 64 NHL games during his rookie season. He added six points (one goal, five assists) in nine postseason games. He was not loaned to participate in last year’s WJC when Canada won gold in the Czech Republic. He did play for Canada at the 2019 World Juniors Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan, and skated on a line with 2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafrenière (Rangers). Both players are eligible to play in the 2021 WJC.
Forward MacKenzie Entwistle and defenseman Ian Mitchell were the last Blackhawks prospects to play for Canada at the WJC in 2019 when they fell to eventual champion Finland 2-1 in overtime in the quarterfinals.