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Troy Stecher: Team Canada

...Canucks defenceman gets the call to represent his country

by Derek Jory @NoJoryous / Vancouver Canucks

Troy Stecher had a European vacation planned for May; he was going to spend some time touring around Ireland with a good friend after his upcoming graduation.

The pair is still heading to Europe in May, but the destination is now Slovakia as earlier this week Stecher was one of 22 players named to Team Canada for the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Troy Stecher, Team Canada. That has a great ring to it!

"I had plans, but it was an automatic yes," laughed Stecher, who began his off-season training last Tuesday and got the call from Hockey Canada on Thursday.

"It's my first opportunity to play for Team Canada and I'm very excited," said the 25-year-old, who leaves for Slovakia Thursday. "My family is super excited as well, and they're going to come along also. It should be a great experience."

Video: IIHF WORLDS | Stecher on Being Named to Roster

Stecher admitted the invite "was a little out of left field," but it's definitely a dream come true for the Richmond native, who listed wearing Canada's maple leaf alongside winning the Stanley Cup or an Olympic gold medal as lifelong dreams.

"To get that opportunity, to me it was never a question, I was never going to say no. I'm a little bit speechless, I don't really know what to expect. I'm just going to go there and try to soak in as much information as I can, meet some new teammates and enjoy the moment with my family."

Stecher is familiar with Dante Fabbro, a Nashville defenceman from Coquitlam, and Sam Reinhart, a Buffalo forward from West Vancouver. Other than that, Stech is heading into the event looking to "meet 21 new friends."

Stecher, a three-year NHLer, has been the youngest defenceman on the Canucks roster in each of his three seasons. That will not be the case with Team Canada as Stech is the eldest blueliner, coming in four days older than Buffalo's Brandon Montour.

"It's a little strange," laughed Stecher, "but I think we're going to be a good group. Canada usually puts a good squad together."

The World Championship preliminary round kicks off May 10th in Slovakia, with Group A (Canada, United States, Finland, Germany, Slovaki, Denmark, France and Great Britain) playing at Steel Arena in Kosice, and Group B (Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy) battling it out in Bratislava at Ondrej Nepela Arena.

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