LA Kings: Jordan Spence’s story makes WJC goal special

LA Kings (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Taken in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Draft, LA Kings prospect Jordan Spence scored the first goal for Team Canada on Sunday.

If not for Braden Schneider’s hit on Jan-Luca Schumacher on Team Germany, Jordan Spence may not have been given a chance to contribute for Team Canada in this year’s World Junior Championship. The LA Kings 2019 fourth-round pick was added as the seventh defenseman ahead of Canada’s matchup with Team Slovakia on Sunday.

It didn’t take long for Spence to make an impact. Just four minutes into the opening period, Philip Tomasino kicked a rebound out to the slot, and Spence buried it past Slovakia netminder Samuel Hlavaj.

Named the QMJHL’s Defensemen of the Year in the 19-20 season, Spence has been a point-producing machine from the blue line. But he had one of the most unconventional paths to playing hockey. He was born in Sydney, Australia but didn’t learn the game of hockey until he moved to Japan.

In his early teens, his family moved to Prince Edward Island, not having yet learned English. He flourished in the minors, tallying 44 points in 30 games for Mid Isle Matrix in 15-16. Prior to joining Team Canada in the WJC bubble, Spence was named an alternate captain for the Moncton Wildcats, accumulating five goals and 16 points in just 13 games.

Schneider’s one-game suspension is over, and it will be interesting to see if Team Canada keeps Spence on the active roster.

"“Got my first goal, so it was an amazing experience,” said Spence. “But it’s unfortunate (Braden) Schneider was suspended. I skated at the morning skate, but you just never know if you’re gonna be in the lineup or not. So, I just wanted to get ready with the mindset that I was playing.”"

Other LA Kings in WJC action

Martin Chromiak

Chromiak tallied Team Slovakia’s lone goal against Canada, sniping a shot from the left dot past Devon Levi. The LA Kings 2020 fifth-round pick’s goal was his first in WJC while also logging 19:09 of time on ice with three shots on goal.

Quinton Byfield

After recording an assist in Team Canada’s 16-2 blowout win over Team Germany on Saturday, Quinton Byfield had a quiet outing against Slovakia. The second overall pick in the 2020 draft was limited to 12:47 TOI, registering no shots on net but did win 50 percent of faceoffs.

light. Related Story. R-E-L-A-X on Quinton Byfield

Kasper Simontaival

In Sunday’s first game, LA Kings 2020 third-round pick Kasper Simontaival helped get Team Finland on the board first, sending a beautiful pass to Anton Lundell just outside the crease before the puck was tapped into the back of the net. Simontaival also logged his first goal in WJC play, sniping a wrist shot from the slot late in the third period in Team Finland’s 4-1 victory over Team Switzerland.

Lukas Parik

Aside from Spence, perhaps the day’s best story came in the Czech Republic versus Russia game. LA Kings 2019 third-round pick Lukas Parik got the start in net in place of Nick Malik for the Czechs. The 19-year-old stopped all 30 shots, preserving the shutout in Team Czech Republic’s shocking 2-0 victory over Team Russia.


Monday, Dec. 28

Sweden (Bjornfot) vs. Austria, 6 p.m. ET

Germany vs. Slovakia (Chromiak), 9:30 p.m. ET