Former Bisons donning the maple leaf

By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter

One former UFA Bisons player could represent Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Hockey Canada unveiled their 26-player roster Oct. 26 for the Karjala Cup, which takes place Nov. 8-12 in Helsinki, Finland and Biel, Switzerland.
Cochrane’s Mason Raymond was one of those 26 players named to the team; he wore the Bison colours in 2002-2003.
Raymond has represented Canada in the past when he participated in the Spengler Cup in 2016, when Canada captured the gold in a 5-2 win over HC Lugano on New Year’s Eve. In five games, he scored three goals and finished with six points.
In his one year spent in Strathmore, Raymond buried 14 goals and 40 points in 33 games. In the playoffs, he scored 11 goals and 20 points in nine games.
Of course, this is big news for the former Bison, as there will be no current NHL players allowed to participate in the Olympics. It is the first time since the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway, that there will be no NHL talent.
Hockey Canada is using this tournament as a way to prepare themselves for the Olympic Games. This marks the first year Canada will compete at the Karjala Cup. Historically a European tournament, the United States have only entered the tournament once and captured bronze in 1992. Russia has won the most medals in the tournament’s 22-year history with 20 medals (eight gold, five silver and eight bronze). Finland has a slight edge in most gold medals with 11.
Raymond isn’t too far removed from life in the NHL. Last season, he appeared in four games with the Anaheim Ducks after spending parts of two seasons with the Calgary Flames.
In 546 career NHL games, mostly spent with the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs, Raymond scored 115 goals, recorded 115 assists and 251 points, to go with a minus-2 rating. In 63 playoff games, he registered eight goals, 20 assists and a minus-8.
These days, Raymond suits up for the Schlittschuh Club Bern of the National League — the top tier of the Swiss hockey league system. They are located in Bern, Switzerland. Through eight games, he has a pair of goals and eight points to go with his plus-4 rating.
Joining Raymond on Team Canada are household names such as René Bourque, Wojtek Wolski, Derek Roy and Ben Scrivens, who are all removed from the NHL, but playing elsewhere in Europe.
Also representing Canada, but at a much younger level, will be former CFR Chemicals Bisons centre Peyton Krebs.
On Oct. 24, Hockey Canada announced the rosters for the three Canadian teams – Red, White and Black – that will be participating Nov. 5-11 at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.
Krebs was the first overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft and was named to Team Canada Red alongside six other WHL players, including the third-overall pick from the same draft, in defenceman Bowen Byram.
Last year was Krebs only full season with the Herd. In 29 Alberta Midget Hockey League games, he racked up 15 goals and 40 points, as the Bisons reached Game 4 of the AMHL final. He also won the Top Forward award.
This year, in 15 games with the Kootenay ICE, he has three goals and 13 points.