Kitchener Rangers’ team captain Gabriel Landeskog has been selected to represent Team Sweden at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York.
This marks Landeskog’s fourth appearance representing Team Sweden at the international level. He has played for his country’s U-16, U-17, and U-18 teams – with the exception of last year, as he was transitioning into his first season with Kitchener.
At the 2009 tournament Landeskog scored four goals in six games.
This year Landeskog was fortunate enough to forgo travel to Sweden for tryouts and received an automatic roster spot, avoiding having to leave his Rangers squad for an extended period.
“With the time zones, all that travelling would be hard on my body, so [the coaches] decided I could stay here and finish the games with Kitchener and then meet the team afterwards,” Landeskog explained.
Aside from being the Rangers captain, he has also led Team Sweden at the international level. The Stockholm native is also the youngest player in Swedish history to play for Djurgarden, and is among the youngest to have ever played in the Swedish Elite League.
Landeskog is eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and is ranked as one of the top prospects in Canada – 1st overall in the Ontario League by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.
“With this being my draft year, there’s going to be a lot of scouts there watching,” said Landeskog. “But I can’t really think of that. With team success, individual success comes with that too.”
“I’m just going to go out there and work my hardest to try and help my team win the gold. But for now I’m just trying to focus on the Kitchener Rangers and doing as good as I can until then.”
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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