Updated to show that Ben Scrivens played one game for the St. John's IceCaps
Despite being one of only a handful of players with extensive National Hockey League experience vying for a position on the team, Teddy Purcell of St. John’s was not among the 25 players named to Canada’s 2018 Olympic men’s hockey roster on Thursday.
The 32-year-old winger had been in the mix for a spot, having played in two of the three most recent European tournaments that Hockey Canada used to select its squad for next month’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Purcell skated for Canada in the 2017 Karjala Cup in Finland, and the Channel One Cup (formerly Izvestia tournament) in Moscow. However, he dressed for only one of three games in the latter event. In three games with Team Canada, Purcell recorded one assist.
He did not suit up for Canada in the Spengler Cup in late December; for that Swiss tourney, Canada went with a roster that featured only two Kontinental Hockey League players.
A forward with eight years of full-time NHL experience, Purcell plays for Avangard Omsk of the KHL and has two goals and six assists in 17 games. He had been recently sidelined by injury, missing a half-dozen contests, but resumed playing with Omsk last weekend.
Purcell has appeared in 599 NHL games, registering, 110 goals and 217 assists for 327 career points. After splitting last season with the Los Angeles Kings and their AHL farm team, he became a free agent. He had a tryout with the Boston Bruins in training camp last fall, but failed to earn a contract, resulting him heading to Europe for the first time in his career.
There were two players with ties to St. John’s hockey named to the Canadian Olympic team. Eric O’Dell of Ottawa and Christian Thomas of Toronto both played with the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. If you want to push it, you might even include goalie Ben Scrivens, who appeared in one game for the IceCaps in the 2015-16 season.
Purcell was among 49 forwards who suited up for Canada at five pre-Olympic tournaments since August. With the NHL not sending any players to the 2018 Winter Games, the Canadian management team and coaches auditioned players mainly from European-based leagues. In the end, 13 players from the KHL were chosen for the roster.
No player from the Atlantic provinces made the team for Pyeongchang.