Pascal Leclaire says he has nothing but “good memories” from the three years he spent playing hockey in Halifax. He found out yesterday he’ll have a chance to make more.
The former Halifax Mooseheads goaltender was among the first 15 players announced yesterday as members of Team Canada for the IIHF world championship, which will run May 2 to 18 at the Halifax Metro Centre and in Quebec City.
Leclaire, in his third full season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, finished second in the NHL with nine shutouts.
“Coming back to Halifax will be really exciting and I’m looking forward to it,” said Leclaire, who spent three seasons with the Mooseheads from 1998 to 2000.
“I still have great connections in that city, I still have a lot of friends, and I remember the three years I spent playing junior there, I only have good memories.”
Reigning world championship MVP Rick Nash of the Blue Jackets and former Hart Trophy winner Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning are among the biggest names on the roster.
General manager Steve Yzerman will name the rest of the team after the first round of the NHL playoffs and said he may add a third “high-profile” stopper. Meanwhile, Leclaire will battle Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward — who started Canada’s gold-medal-game win last year — for the No. 1 job.
“Me and Cam will push each other and try to make the best goaltending team as possible,” Leclaire said. “It’s going to end up being a coaching decision and all we can do is both get ourselves ready to help the team as much as we can.”