Canada's Alexis Lafreniere to return from knee injury at world juniors
Canada's Alexis Lafreniere waits to hit the ice for the team's practice at the World Junior Hockey Championships on Jan. 1, 2020. (Ryan Remiorz / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Alexis Lafreniere will be in the lineup when Canada meets Slovakia in the quarterfinals of the world junior hockey championship Thursday.
The star winger and projected No. 1 pick at the 2020 NHL draft returned to practice Wednesday after injuring his left knee in the second period of Saturday's embarrassing 6-0 loss to Russia.
Lafreniere was out early at Ostravar Arena testing the joint and moving well as a full participant in the main 30-minute session.
He was not made available to reporters after practice. Hockey Canada confirmed Lafreniere would return in a tweet later Wednesday.
The Canadians, who face Slovakia in the quarters on Thursday, beat Germany 4-1 and the Czech Republic 7-2 to top Group B without Lafreniere, but getting the reigning CHL Player of the Year back for the medal round is a huge boost.
The 18-year-old from Saint-Eustache, Que., scored the winner and added three assists in his country's tournament-opening 6-4 victory over the United States on Boxing Day.
Lafreniere has 23 goals and 47 assists in 32 games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season.
This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Jan. 1, 2020