Two Kelowna Rockets get Team Canada tryout
Kelowna Rockets players Nick Merkley and Dillon Dube have both been invited to tryout for team Canada in the upcoming World Juniors.
In less than 30 days, the puck will officially drop on the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, and Merkley and Dube are now one step closer to being part of this Canadian holiday tradition as members of Canada’s National Junior Team.
Merkley was invited to the camp for the second year in a row. Last year he wasn’t able to crack the tournament squad, but this year he’s hoping to change that.
“It’s a big honor, I’m just excited to get there and get things going. I’m looking to do more than I did last year and hopefully I can make that team this time,” said Merkley. “I think the biggest thing for me is just focusing on the next game, not thinking too far ahead about making the team and just being in the moment.”
Rockets veteran forward Dillon Dube was also named to the selection camp roster, something he’s looking at as a special challenge.
“It’s crazy. Right now it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s an honor to get there,” Dube said. “It’s still a tryout so I think there’s still lots to be done and hopefully I’ll be able to prove myself in that short amount of time and I can get a chance to play.”
The selection camp roster includes a total of 19 forwards, 10 defencemen, and three goaltenders. The evaluation process was led by Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s director of player personnel, and Joël Bouchard of the organization’s Program of Excellence management group, with input from coaches and general managers from across the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
The selection camp will be held at the home of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau, and features three games: two against the USport All-Stars on Dec. 12 and 13, and a final game against the Czech Republic on Dec. 14.
Following the four-day camp, 22 players will be selected to represent Canada and don the Maple Leaf on home ice for the first time since 2015 when Canada won gold in front of a sold-out crowd of over 19,000 fans at the Air Canada Centre. This year, gold will be won in Montreal.