Jonathan Bernier is committed to representing Canada at the Spengler Cup if the NHL lockout continues through the end of the month.
The Los Angeles Kings goaltender has been playing for the Heilbronn Falcons in Germany’s second division during the work stoppage and plans to join the Canadian team for the Dec. 26-31 event, according to a source.
Like the other NHLers tentatively scheduled to wear the Maple Leaf in Davos, Switzerland over the holidays, Bernier’s availability hinges on the status of collective bargaining talks back in North America.
Hockey Canada doesn’t expect to formally name the Spengler Cup team until just before Christmas because of the uncertainty brought on by the NHL lockout. Canada is scheduled open the tournament against Adler Mannheim on Dec. 26.
Bernier previously represented Canada during the 2008 world junior championship, winning gold as a backup to Steve Mason, and at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championship. He also played in the world under-18 championship.
If NHL players continue to be locked out, Canada should be strong up front. Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Matt Duchene and Brooks Laich are all currently playing for teams in the Swiss league and have shown some interest in the event.
Earlier this week, the Canadian team’s architect acknowledged that he’d been in contact with all of them.
“These are top-end guys that would obviously put us in a good situation with our overall team makeup,” said Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of national teams. “No matter what event it is we always try to put our best team together — our goal is to win these events.”
The Spengler Cup is a six-team tournament that dates back to 1923. Traditionally, Canada sends a group of pros based in Switzerland along with a handful of guys from other European leagues and the American Hockey League.
Canada last won the event 2007, when it had veteran Curtis Joseph in goal.