When the 2015 IIHF Division IB World Championships begin in mid-April, the Croatian national team could feature as many as eight Canadian’s on their roster thanks to an additional three getting named to the provisional roster this week.
Former NHL prospects Mark Dekanich, Mike Glumac and Andrew Murray were all named to their first World Championship roster in hopes of helping the Croatian team advance to Division IA for 2016.
For all three, the players became eligible to play for Croatia at the end of the KHL regular season after being naturalized for playing with Croatian KHL team Medvescak Zagreb over the past two seasons. Dekanich, who saw a game of action with the Nashville Predators a few seasons back, spent five seasons playing professional hockey in the American Hockey League before signing a contract with Zagreb in 2013. A multi-award winning NCAA puckstopper, Dekanich recorded zero wins in 12 games this year in what turned out to be a goaltending nightmare, using five goaltenders throughout the season.
Glumac spent parts of three seasons with the St. Louis Blues, totaling 13 points in 40 games. His best North American pro experience came during his time in the AHL, recording 336 points in 464 games, which included two seasons of 57 points with the Peoria Rivermen. Considered to be best in a depth position, Glumac has 16 points split over two KHL seasons with Zagreb.
Once an eighth round selection of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Murray saw the most action in the NHL of the three, scoring 40 points in 221 games with the Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues. A captain with Zagreb, Murray finished his NCAA career with Bemidji State University with 115 points in 128 games, good for ninth all-time in the history of the school. Like Glumac, Murray is considered to be more of a bottom six player, having recorded just 13 points in 105 games.
Last year, the country had the likes of Andy Sertich (USA), Geoff Waugh (CAN), Alan Letang (CAN, current player/assistant coach) and Kenny MacAulay (CAN) represent the national team at the Division 1B World’s, helping the team win silver. This year, the team could also get help from Canadian’s Ryan Kinasewich, Nathan Perkovich and Joel Prpic, who have all seen action already in North America over the past few seasons.
Croatia will begin the Division IB World Championships with a game against Great Britain on April 13th, with the event set to conclude on April 19th. The team with the most points at the end will be promoted to the 2016 Division IA World Championships, while the last-ranked team will be relegated to DIIA.
Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.