BY DAN MCNEE
CZECH REPUBLIC/SLOVAKIA – Listowel native Roland McKeown will be getting his second taste of international hockey competition this week, as the Kingston Frontenacs defenceman suits up for Team Canada in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Initially called the U-18 Junior World Cup, the Pacific Cup and Nations Cup, the Ivan Hlinka tournament is one of the top international competitions for the age bracket, co-hosted annually between Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Canada has won the last five tournaments.
McKeown is preparing for his second season in the Ontario Hockey League following a stellar rookie campaign in which he totaled 29 points in 61 games. The 17-year-old also captured gold with Canada earlier this year at 2013 IIHF World U18 Championships in Russia.
McKeown was drafted second overall in the 2012 OHL Priority Draft and is considered to be a top prospect heading into his first year of eligibility at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
Canada opened up the tournament with a 4-0 shutout win to host Czech Republic on Monday. The Ivan Hlinka competition wraps up on Saturday with the gold-medal game.