Salmon Arm has a player in the World Junior Championships this year for the first time in nearly a decade – though he won’t be donning the maple leaf jersey.
Silverbacks’ forward Matthew Verboon suited up for Team Switzerland at the 2019 World Junior Championships, taking a little break from the regular season in the BCHL for a chance to skate in one of the largest junior tournaments in the world.
Salmon Arm last had a player at the World Juniors in 2009 when Conor Morrison suited up for Germany.
In his first year with the Silverbacks, Verboon leads the team both in points (29) and goals (13). He is tied with fellow forward Justin Wilson for goals, but has an edge in the number of games played this season, racking up assists to put him in the top-points spot.
Last season playing in Switzerland, Verboon joined with the U20 Genève-Servette national hockey team to win the league championship. As a dual citizen, Verboon played for Team Switzerland last season in the U-18 World Junior Championships where he had two assists in six games.
Switzerland kicked the tournament off against the Czech Republic team on Boxing Day, falling in a close 2-1 game as the first two teams on the tournament ice. On Dec. 27, Verboon and his teammates took on Team Canada in Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, taking a 3-2 loss to the home team. Switzerland found their first win of the tournament against Denmark on Dec. 29, locking down a decisive 4-0 victory. After a 7-4 loss against Russia on Dec. 30, the Swiss team had a bit of a hiatus before facing Sweden on Jan. 2, losing 2-0 against the Swedish team. Switzerland still had a shot at the finals, but in the decisive game against Finland they fell 5-1, being bounced into a Jan. 5 consolation final against Russia.
Team Canada had a near-perfect record early-on at the World Junior Championships, making a landslide 14-0 victory over Denmark Dec. 26 before defeating Switzerland 3-2 Dec. 27.
Team Canada triumphed over the Czech Republic 5-1 Dec. 29, before taking their first loss against Russia Dec. 31. Their next game against Finland didn’t go as hoped, seeing the Finnish team edge out a 2-1 victory and knock Canada out of the running entirely.
The championship match, USA against Finland, is set to hit the ice Jan. 5 at 5 p.m. PST.