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Florida Panthers prospects sent home after World Junior canceled

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World junior canceled
Florida Panthers prospect Justin Sourdif — part of Team Canada and the now-canceled World Junior Championships — meets the media at the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect showcase in Wesley Chapel prior to the start of training camp. // Photo courtesy @JamesonCoop

On Wednesday, the IIHF announced that the World Junior Championships has been canceled due to Covid-19 concerns, sending six Florida Panthers prospects home.

Ty Smilanic, a third-round pick by the Panthers who was there representing Team USA, told Florida Hockey Now that it was “always an honor to wear those jerseys.”

Now, he will not get the chance.

Smilanic suffered a leg injury in Team USA’s pre-tournament game and wasn’t expected back until later in the tournament.

Now the tournament has been called off.

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Team USA teammate and Florida 2021 first-round pick Mackie Samoskevich did find twine in the only game the United States played in the tournament.

On Tuesday, Team USA was placed in quarantine and was forced to forfeit their game against Switzerland after two players on their roster tested positive for Covid-19.

Team Czechia was placed on quarantine on Wednesday after a player on their roster tested positive for Covid-19 and the rest of their team was on Covid protocol for contact tracing.

The decision was made afterward to call the tournament off.

Florida prospect Justin Sourdif served a suspension on Tuesday, missing a game due to an illegal check to the head.

He would have been able to return for Canada’s game against Germany on Wednesday.

Sourdif finished the tournament scoreless with just one game played.

Kasper Puutio, Florida’s 2020 fifth-round draft pick who was representing Team Finland, finished the tournament with no points and a plus/minus of plus-two in two games.

Jakub Kos, a 2020 sixth-round pick of the Panthers, who was representing the Czech Republic, also did not record a point in two games at the World Juniors.

Elliot Ekmark, a Swedish forward that Florida selected in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL Draft, did not record a point either.

The United States, led by current Panthers netminder Spencer Knight, won Gold last year.

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