(Victoria Royals)

This year’s World Juniors just got a little bit more local.

The Victoria Royals announced this morning that forward Keanu Derungs has been named to Switzerland’s National Junior Team for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The annual tradition kicks off on Christmas day and will conclude on January 5th, 2021 in Edmonton.

Switzerland’s first game of the tournament will be on Friday, versus Slovakia. They are in Group A alongside Canada, Finland, Germany and Slovakia.

Derungs is joining the ranks of other Royals’ greats like Joe Hicketts (Canada 2015/2016), Igor Martynov (Belarus 2018) and Phillip Schultz (Denmark, 2019) who have represented their country at the World Junior Championships.

18-year-old Keanu is currently playing for EVZ Academy in the Swiss League, which is Switzerland’s second division, on loan from the Royals.

So far, in his 16 games with EVZ, the forward has recorded three assists.

Just last year, Derungs played in his first season in the WHL with Victoria and recorded 29 points (15g-14a) in 57 games.

This past summer, the Royals’ forward was named the team’s Rookie of the Year for the 2019-20 season.

The 5’11”, 168 pound winger was originally selected by the Royals with the 28th overall pick in the 2019 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft.

In several international tournaments in 2018-19, Derungs played 16 games for Switzerland’s Under-17 team and collected three goals and six assists.

This year’s World Junior tournament will drop the puck on Christmas Day, with defending-champion Canada playing their first game on Boxing Day versus Germany.

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