Canada’s world junior hockey team is dealing with its most serious injury loss a day after being handed its first on-ice defeat.
Forward Charles Hudon of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens hurt his lower back at practice Friday and will miss the upcoming under-20 tournament in Ufa, Russia.
Hudon had an assist in Canada's 3-2 exhibition loss versus Finland on Thursday. The Montreal Canadiens prospect has 18 goals and 18 assists in 27 games with Chicoutimi this season.
Edmonton native Mark McNeill of the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders will replace Hudon on Canada’s 23-man roster.
He has 13 goals and 39 points in 35 games with Prince Albert this season.
McNeill, who was drafted 18th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011, has represented Canada at the 2011 world under-18 championship and at the 2010 world under-17 hockey challenge.
He will join the team in Finland on Saturday while Hudon will return to Canada on Sunday.
The Canadians battle Sweden Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET before travelling to Ufa. Canada opens the world juniors Dec. 26 against Germany.
With files from The Canadian Press