Leafs’ James Reimer to represent Canada at world championships in Slovakia, along with captain Dion Phaneuf and defenceman Luke Schenn
The Toronto Maple Leafs may not be heading to the playoffs this year, but there’s still reason to celebrate today, as three of the boys in blue and white have been tapped to head to the IHF world championships in Slovakia. Twenty-three-year-old goaltender James Reimer will join Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf and defenceman Luke Schenn on Team Canada during the competition, which runs from April 29 to May 15.
While Phaneuf may be a world championship veteran—he played for Canada in 2007—for Reimer, this invite was the opportunity of a lifetime. “I couldn’t turn that one down,” Reimer told the National Post. “I was stoked. I was pretty excited for Nonis to talk to me”—that’s the Leafs’ senior VP of hockey operations, Dave Nonis, who was named general manager of Team Canada last month. Reimer went 20-10-5 in 37 appearances with the Leafs this past season, posting a .921 save percentage and three shutouts in his first NHL season.
“In general, I have always believed that players should play in the worlds, if asked,” Leafs general manager Brian Burke told the Post prior to the announcement. “I feel that way about James.”
Reimer, a.k.a. Optimus Reim—a nickname the goalie has embraced—is as just as “stoked” about his success with the Leafs as he is about the world championships. “It is a dream come true.…To be able to play here in the league for this long, it was more than I would have expected. It’s been a ton of fun. Just being able to look back and see what went on, it is kind of surreal,” Reimer said in his season-ending media conference on Monday.