Before I get into how pumped I am to be playing for Team Canada, I want to take you back to April/May 2015. A year ago representing my country obviously wasn’t on my radar, might have been the utmost thing from it. If someone told me this would happen I would have laughed and told them to smarten up. The decision to turn pro was key to me packing my bags for Russia; it was a tough decision, I considered finishing my education before turning pro, but I was too excited to test the waters and I guess I made the right decision!
Going into Canucks training camp, I had two goals: crack the roster and make an impact. I hit both of those, but I’ll admit I surprised myself this year. I didn’t know what the level of the NHL was like, I was hoping I could play there and I wanted to play there, but you never know. I’m proud of the season I had and the Canucks played a big part of me getting this opportunity with Team Canada. Jim Benning was who told me I had made the team actually.
Funny story: Jim called me and I missed the call and then he called Chris Tanev, my roommate, because he knows we’re always together and what-do-you-know, I just happened to be with him and Chris was like “the phone is for you...” I was surprised and then again when Jim said Team Canada wanted me. He said to take a minute to think about it, but I knew right away I was going.
Now I’m here!
I’ve never officially played for Team Canada, just for Team Canada East in the Junior A Challenge. I get the full country this time!
Growing up everyone is playing street hockey saying they’re Wayne Gretzky or Sidney Crosby, scoring the game-winning goal for Team Canada. You dream about stuff like that, stuff like this. Playing for Team Canada is a privilege and facing some of the best players in the world is an honour.
I talked to Dan Hamhuis about it when I first got the call. He was really excited for me and told me some tips, like what to pack and what not to pack and how much to pack – he told me a lot about packing! He told me I’ll have a great time and that everything would be first class and he wasn’t lying.
We’ve been here almost a week now and for someone who had never even been overseas before, it’s quite an experience. We’ve done some sightseeing and gotten to know each other, now our focus is solely on winning.
It’s been a crazy year and it’s about to get a lot crazier!
I’ll check in when I can – blogging is exhausting, I need a nap.