OTTAWA - Football Canada has unveiled its Junior National Team roster in preparation for the 2016 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) U19 World Championship, June 28 - July 10, in Harbin, China.
UBC's Paul Orazietti has already been named running back coach for Team Canada and now two current Thunderbirds will be making the flight to China with him. Defensive lineman Connor Griffiths (Langley, B.C.) and highly touted receiving recruit Trey Kellogg (Delta, B.C.) were name to the Canadian roster Tuesday afternoon.
Griffiths is coming off a very strong first season with UBC, which saw him make 23 tackles, 6.5 of which were for lost yardage, and record 2.5 quarterback sacks. He is expected to play an even bigger role in the Thunderbirds' pass rush and run defense in the 2016 season.
Kellogg is a "big-fish" recruit landed by UBC Head Coach Blake Nill. He played his senior season as a receiver for the Foothills Composite Varsity Football squad in Okotoks, Alta., before committing to the Thunderbirds last November.
Canada's entry has retained a core group of players from its U18 and U19 national teams, which competed against Team USA at the International Bowl series in Arlington, Texas.
"As a coaching staff, we've used the International Bowl series against the U.S. national teams as an opportunity to prepare, evaluate and select the top identified players to go on and represent our nation on the world stage," Canada's defensive coordinator and head coach Warren Craney said.
"After a long travel day, we will use our training camp in China to adjust to the twelve-hour (ET) time difference and come together in pursuit of a gold medal."
After roughly a full day in the air, Team Canada will arrive in China on June 22 and begin training camp in preparation for their opening game against Mexico on June 30. They will then play on July 3, July 7 and July 9 or 10, depending on game results of the championship's double-elimination play.