Team Canada Had 3 Junior Age Players In Training Camp
A little known fact about the Team Canada training camp is that they had 3 junior age players practicing with the the professionals. These three junior stars were ineligible to make the team, but were brought in to balance scrimmages and intra-squad games.
Billy Harris was the junior forward named to the practice squads. He had just come off his 5th and final season in the Ontario Hockey Association where he starred with the Toronto Marlboros. The training camp with the top professionals was a great initiation for him, as just a few days after Team Canada training camp was over he would attend the New York Islanders training camp. He would make the team and become a long time Islander. He would also play with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings.
John Van Boxmeer was a masterful puck moving defenseman. He was added to the roster as well, and he too would turn professional in September 1972. He would apprentice in the minor leagues for several seasons however, as he was property of the Montreal Canadiens. In those days it was customary for all but the very best prospects in Montreal's system to spend time in the AHL. But Van Boxmeer would make the NHL by 1975. He would find more success in Colorado and Buffalo than in Montreal. He also had a stint with the Quebec Nordiques.
The final junior addition was another Montreal prospect Michel "Bunny" Larocque. Team Canada needed a 4th goalie in camp, just to spot the three professionals - Ken Dryden, Tony Esposito and Ed Johnston. "Bunny" had just graduated from the Ottawa 67s of the OHA and would spend the 1972-73 season in the AHL before finding long time employment in Montreal as Ken Dryden's backup. He would also appear in the jerseys of Toronto, Philadelphia and St. Louis.