Barrie Colts center Mark Scheifele is one of 10 Ontario Hockey League players suiting up for Canada in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships; he’s also one of a small handful of players in the tournament who has NHL experience, and in Canada’s first game of this year’s World Juniors, Scheifele had a pair of goals.
The Kitchener native is competing in his third IIHF-sanctioned event, having previously represented Canada and won a bronze medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships. He scored six points (3-3) in as many games.
He was also named one of the top players for Canada in the U-18 championships of 2011, and participated in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge.
Scheifele, 19, is eight in the Ontario Hockey League in points scoring, 13th leaguewide in goals and 12th in assists. Eight of his 21 goals on the season have come on the power play for Barrie, with one coming shorthanded.
Fellow Canada forward Anthony Camara leads the Colts with 22 goals, while Scheifele leads the team with 48 points in 29 games. His 1.66 points/game average is also top on the Colts team.
This is Scheifele’s third season in the Ontario Hockey League and his third with Barrie. He began his OHL career in 2010, scoring 75 points in 66 games with the Colts. After a successful rookie season, he was selected 7th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets – despite having been previously ranked at #21.
Following his draft season, Scheifele returned to Barrie, but ultimately spent parts of the 2011-12 season in the AHL, NHL and OHL.
He began the season with the Jets, making his NHL debut on October 9, 2011 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. He later scored his first NHL goal in his fifth game, a 4-3 shootout loss to Toronto, but was returned to the Colts after appearing seven games with the Jets.
Scheifele notched two assists in his return to Barrie on October 26. He played the remainder of the regular season with Barrie, scoring 63 points (23-40) in 47 games and adding 12 points in 13 playoff games before Barrie was eliminated by Ottawa in the semi-finals.
He then made his AHL debut on April 25 against the Syracuse Crunch and proceeded to appear in 10 games with the St. John’s Ice Caps that postseason, tallying one assist, two penalty minutes and 10 shots.
Prior to the 2012-13 season, the center attended development camp with the Jets, having already signed an entry-level contract with the NHL team shortly after being drafted.
In Canada’s first game of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships, Scheifele skated on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Huberdeau. The trio combined for 10 points in Canada’s 9-3 victory over Germany.
Scheifele and Team Canada return to action in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships on December 28 versus Slovakia.