October has been a big month for Lethbridge’s Ridly Greig.
First, the 18-year-old was selected in the first round (28th-overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by the Ottawa Senators, and now he’s made the 47-man roster for Hockey Canada’s 2021 World Junior Championship selection camp.
On Thursday, Hockey Canada released the list of players invited to the 28-day camp in Red Deer, beginning Nov. 16. Greig – a forward with the Brandon Wheat Kings – was among 15 Western Hockey League (WHL) players invited to the camp.
The other Lethbridge connection on the camp roster is Hurricanes captain Dylan Cozens, one of six returnees who won gold for Canada at the 2020 World Juniors in the Czech Republic.
For Greig, who previously represented Hockey Canada at the 2018 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, it’s his first opportunity to crack Canada’s World Junior Championship roster — which he says is a dream come true.
“Anywhere you are, to put on the maple leaf is an honour,” Greig said. “The World Juniors especially will mean a lot, obviously, there’s so many good players that have played in that tournament.”
In his second full year in the WHL for the shortened 2019-2020 season, Greig had 26 goals and 60 points in 56 games with the Wheat Kings.
After a quick stop back in Lethbridge to take in the virtual NHL Entry Draft with his family, Greig is back training in Brandon, now with a new focus.
“Everyone is training really hard and getting on the ice as much as they can right now, just to prepare themselves for the camp,” he said.
“And the camp itself will prepare the team for the tournament. So I think what Hockey Canada’s done will work out pretty good for everyone.”
The 2021 World Juniors are set to be played in a bubble in Edmonton – similar to the NHL playoffs – an experience that Greig said he would definitely be open to.
“I think it will be pretty cool,” he said. “I know the NHL had a unique experience with it a couple months ago, and obviously it was pretty successful.
“Just to be part of something so unique would definitely be pretty cool.”
Among the 47-man camp roster are 26 NHL first round draft picks, including Cozens, Greig and his Wheat Kings teammate Braden Schneider (New York Rangers’ 19th overall selection in the 2020 draft).
“Obviously it’s the best players in the country — definitely a lot of good young players — and just to be on the same ice as those guys and to practice with them is going to be a lot of fun,” Greig said.
“I’m really looking forward to it and it’s going to be hard to make the team, but I’m just going to put my best foot forward.”
Canada’s national team selection camp will be held at the Westerner Park Centrium, home of the WHL team the Red Deer Rebels, and will include practices and three intrasquad games, as well as six games against a team of U SPORTS all-stars.
After narrowing down its roster, Hockey Canada will participate in pre-tournament games in the Edmonton bubble starting Dec. 20.
The 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship begins on Christmas Day and ends Jan. 5. Canada will begin its tournament schedule against Germany on Boxing Day.
Watch below: (From September 2020) The success of the NHL bubble has people hoping for a repeat performance when the World Juniors come to Edmonton at the end of 2020. Vinesh Pratap takes a look at the lessons learned and what it could mean for the city.