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Morrissey adds to impressive international resume

Jets blueliner representing Canada for the sixth time

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / Special to WinnipegJets.com

PARIS, France -- Canada's called often. Josh Morrissey has always answered.

Morrissey, currently representing Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Championship in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany from May 5-21, isn't about to let an invite to represent his country on the international stage go to voicemail.

"It's a pretty big honour," said Morrissey, who had six goals and 20 points in all 82 games as a rookie with the Winnipeg Jets this season. "When I got the call I was really excited. Anytime you get to represent Canada, whether it's U17, U18 Worlds twice, Hlinka, World Juniors twice…I've always loved it.

"You feel so much pride. To get the call and go to the Worlds, that's a whole 'nother level up. A few levels, really. It's pretty exciting. I'm excited to be here."

The feeling, no doubt, is mutual.

Not with how quickly Canada came calling.

Morrissey, naturally, didn't have to wait long after the end of the regular season to get the well-earned nod.

"During the season I just tried to just play my game," he said. "I thought I improved a lot as the year went on. I ended up having a pretty good rookie year. The coaches said it was a possibility I might get the call and to watch my phone a bit.

"It was exciting. You never expect to get the call for a team this good, I guess, with this many players to choose from. I'm very honored and humbled and excited."

Morrissey would've been hard for Canada to pass on, too.  

He does have plenty of experience internationally.

And plenty of golden results.

The 22-year-old defenceman owns gold from the IIHF 2015 World Junior Championship, the IIHF 2013 World Under-18 Championship, and the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He also earned a bronze with Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

"He's a guy that isn't going to turn down this opportunity," said Jets teammate Mark Scheifele, who is also representing Canada at the tournament. "It's fun to represent your country and he's a guy that, in Hockey Canada's eyes, is a premier player in the league. I think he's continuing to make those steps. Him being in his first year, I think he's a pretty underrated guy. When you watch him play you see the special plays he makes.

"Hopefully this tournament he can turn some heads."

Chances are Morrissey will.

He's done so at every other level, after all.

At the Hlinka five years ago, Morrissey had eight assists and nine points in just five games to help Canada clinch gold. Eight months later, he added three goals and seven points in seven games as an assistant captain on Canada's golden Under-18 entry to lead all defencemen in scoring at the tournament.

Morrissey was also named an all-star in helping Canada to gold in 2015 with a four-point performance.

Nothing yet, he admits, has topped that latest medal.

"I think, obviously, winning World Junior gold at home was the best moment," Morrissey said. "Winning Hlinka gold and winning U18 gold was exciting as well. But World Juniors at home was amazing.

"You just learn from those short-term competitions, those international competitions. You know that it's a long tournament and you have to get better as the tournament goes on, keep improving.

"You build from there and fall in with the guys as fast as possible."

It's Morrissey's goal now in his sixth trip to the international stage.

Around more senior defenders like Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche, Jason Demers of the Florida Panthers, Calvin de Haan of the New York Islanders and Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks, Morrissey plans on becoming a sponge at his highest stage yet.

It's exactly what he needs to do in that environment to set himself up for a successful sophomore season with the Jets, his teammate suggested.

"You can always take little tidbits from everyone's game," Scheifele said. "You're playing with some of the best players in the world and playing against some of the best players in the world. You can learn certain things from them. He's going to rise to that opportunity.

"He already has. He's enjoyed himself and enjoyed playing with some good players.

"I think he's only going to get better as the tournament goes on."

-- Aaron Vickers, Special to WinnipegJets.com

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