Canada's world juniors launched their bid for hockey supremacy on Thursday evening in Calgary.
A group of superstars including 33 -- gathered on the ice at the WinSport Markin MacPhail Centre, hoping to kick off what's an ultimate trip that will end in gold , just 27 days right now in Edmonton.
"It sucked," said Cole Perfetti, recalling the defeat of 2-0 in the 2021 gold medal game against USA. United States in the same venue -Rogers Place Rogers Place -- where they are hoping to play again to play in the final game of the season. "We have our sights set for the gold-medal match in January. 5. We're excited for the game.
"And I'm just excited."
To Perfetti (Whitby, Ont./Manitoba, AHL) and two other players Dylan Garand, a goalie along with (Victoria, B.C./Kamloops, WHL) and Kaiden Guhle (Sherwood Park, Alta./Prince Albert, WHL) There's an element of redemptionor revenge -as it were. enthusiasm.
Three of them are returning from last year's silver-selected squad each looking to make a difference one year later, during the IIHF World Junior Championship, held by Edmonton as well as Red Deer.
Then they'll get joined by 22 fresh players after the final roster has been reduced following the four days of camp. They include 3 goalie as well as 11 defencemen as well as 19 forwards.
"It's a new year -- it's a fresh group," said 19-year-old Perfetti who is the sole member of the Canadian roster who is currently playing in professional hockey. "There's a lot of new new faces, and everyone's really hungry."
Coach Dave Cameron will found out the most hungry players in the five-day camp held at WinSport with two games on Sunday (8 p.m. ET) on Saturday (4 p.m. ET) and Sunday (4 p.m.) to play the U SPORTS All-Stars.
Cameron announced following Thursday's initial two on-ice training sessions that he's planning to have his team's selection finalized prior to the departure on Monday from WinSport.
What is certain is that the three goalie players who are in camp -three - Garand, Brett Brochu (Belle River, Ont./London, OHL) and Sebastian Cossa (Fort McMurray, Alta./Edmonton, WHL) -They've already been added to the team.
and Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada's director for hockey operations revealed on Thursday, that the forward Kent Johnson (Port Moody, B.C./Michigan, NCAA) is included on the roster, despite not attending the camp on Day 1. This highly talented offensive powerhouse remains in COVID procedure, but is scheduled to join Canada's team in the coming week.
"We felt that Kent Johnson was a lock to make our team," Salmond stated. "We do expect Kent to be part of our national junior team moving forward."
Two other players also failed to go out on the ice during the first session of camp. The forward Mason McTavish (Carp, Ont./Peterborough, OHL) is awaiting the results of his test after returning unconclusive results on Thursday. And defenceman Lukas Cormier (Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B./Charlottetown, QMJHL) arrived late after his flight was delayed. Both are expected in the ice for Friday's practice.
One of the initial 35 who was invited to campthe player - Jack Thompson (Courtice, Ont./Sudbury, OHL) -- was put into COVID protocol too, but isn't a part of the team and Salmond declaring that the blueliner was being in need of the weekend's skates to be able to have a shot on the roster.
A handful of NHLers qualified for Canada's squad did not reach Calgary also. Quinton Byfield (Los Angeles Kings), Jamie Drysdale (Anaheim Ducks), Seth Jarvis (Carolina Hurricanes) and Cole Sillinger (Columbus Blue Jackets) remain in the major leagues at present, however Salmond states that he's having conversations about his fellow players from the Hurricanes as well as the Blue Jackets about the possible possibility of the availability for Jarvis and Sillinger, respectively. Canada has until December. 15 to decide if they want this the decision for the two centermen.
"The doors not closed on them," Salmond said. "We'll continue to monitor that situation as we move into the next phase of our preparation."
The next stage following one final practice here on Monday will be moving towards Banff for a week-long training camp. They will play Switzerland during a tournament practice game on Dec. 19, at Peavey Mart Centrium in Red Deer.