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Hawerchuk sees big things for star Scheifele at WJC

Monday, 17.12.2012 / 9:37 AM / Feature
By Tal Pinchevsky  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Hawerchuk sees big things for star Scheifele at WJC
Mark Scheifele is expected to play a prominent role for Canada at the World Junior Championship, and Barrie Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk believes it will make his star player even better.



Barrie Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk is aware of the similarities between himself and his star player, Mark Scheifele. Both have starred for Canada in international competition and were hailed as potential franchise centers after being drafted in the first round by the Winnipeg Jets.

As coach of the Ontario Hockey League club, Hawerchuk, a 2001 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, has been grooming the star prospect since a 17-year-old Scheifele recorded 75 points in his first junior hockey season.

"He's really taking it to a whole other level. ... He's a pretty dominating player. It's not so much his scoring, it's what he does all over the ice at the pace he does it. He wants to win day in and day out. I don't know anybody who works harder on and off the ice."
-- Hockey Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk on Mark Scheifele

"He's really taking it to a whole other level," Hawerchuk told NHL.com this week. "You're watching a kid become a man in junior hockey as far as his ability on the ice. He's a pretty dominating player. It's not so much his scoring, it's what he does all over the ice at the pace he does it. He wants to win day in and day out. I don't know anybody who works harder on and off the ice."

Scheifele has been among junior hockey's top performers this season. In leading the Colts to the best record in the OHL Eastern Conference, he ranked fifth in the league in scoring before reporting to training camp for Canada's World Junior Championship squad. But Scheifele hasn't just drawn attention for his scoring statistics. He's also demonstrated great discipline, registering 13 penalty minutes in 29 games.

"He's got the full package," Hawerchuk said. "He's a great team guy, great skill, good size. Day in and day out he's the hardest worker. That's a pretty good package."

What already has been a remarkable season for the 6-foot-3 forward likely will get more intense during the holidays. The 19-year-old is expected to play a prominent role for Canada at the 2013 WJC, which runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 5, 2013 in Ufa, Russia. He had six points in six games at last year's WJC, including a goal and an assist in a 4-0 win against Finland to help Canada win the bronze medal.

Whether Scheifele plays center or right wing for Canada remains to be seen. During an intrasquad game at training camp, he shifted to the wing to play alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau.

"As the game went on, we definitely started to find some chemistry," Nugent-Hopkins said following the scrimmage. "The three of us didn't get too much of a chance to play together, but when we did I felt pretty good out there."

Some junior coaches might fear the potential of their star player sustaining an injury during the WJC, but Hawerchuk said he is looking forward to seeing Scheifele try to lead Canada to its first WJC title since 2009.

"These players go to these events and they come back better players," said Hawerchuk, who tied for the scoring lead with nine points in five games for Canada at the 1981 WJC. "When you're playing with the best against the best, you're only going to get better. You can't control what happens injury-wise. Usually they're a little fatigued after that, but they definitely become better players in the long run."

Any conversation with Hawerchuk about Scheifele inevitably comes back to the Jets. Hawerchuk starred for nine seasons in Winnipeg, and his 929 points remain the most in franchise history. But the Colts' coach is done talking to his star player about what to expect from the hockey-mad city.

As an 18-year-old, Scheifele started last season with Winnipeg, scoring one goal in seven games before being returned to Barrie. Despite averaging barely more than 10 minutes of ice time per game in the NHL, Scheifele was able to capture the imagination of Jets fans.

"He's had a taste of it. He knows what it's going to take to be there," Hawerchuk said. "We talked about it before, but he's been there. He knows what it's all about. He knows it's a hockey-crazy place and a great opportunity for him."

Author: Tal Pinchevsky | NHL.com Staff Writer

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
B. Little 63 24 26 9 50
A. Ladd 63 20 30 12 50
B. Wheeler 61 16 28 12 44
D. Byfuglien 63 15 26 6 41
M. Perreault 56 18 18 3 36
M. Scheifele 63 10 25 4 35
M. Frolik 63 13 19 3 32
D. Stafford 57 10 17 -18 27
J. Tlusty 53 13 10 -17 23
E. Kane 37 10 12 -1 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Hutchinson 18 7 5 .920 2.29
O. Pavelec 13 13 7 .909 2.60
 
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