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FUTURE WATCH: Darnell Nurse

by Ashley Docking / Edmonton Oilers
It’s Christmas time, which means presents, family coming together and, of course, a favourite Canadian pastime. The holidays mean parking yourself in front of the television and watching the World Junior Championship (WJC).

 
For Oilers 2013 first-round draft pick Darnell Nurse, Christmas came early when he was named to the final roster for the 2015 tournament and given yet another opportunity to represent Team Canada— an early Christmas present of sorts.
 
Photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers
“It’s really a dream come true to have this opportunity that lies ahead of us,” Nurse exclaimed.
 
For Nurse, the chance to bring gold back to Canada for the first time since 2009 is like living out a childhood fantasy.
 
“To be able to play in this tournament that all of us watched growing up when Christmas time comes around, and to have the ability to do it on home ice, is going to be something that is really special,” he said.
 
After Canada’s win in the Ottawa in 2009, the WJC have taken place in both Calgary (2012) and Saskatoon (2010) but, with the games this year being split between Toronto and Montreal, it means the whole Nurse clan can be there to witness the event.
 
“My parents will be at al the games, which will be great,” Nurse said.

But eventually the amount of tickets left at will call will increase.

“Once we get to Toronto, more and more family members will be able to come to games,” Nurse explained. “I think it will be fun to have everyone around and take in the whole experience.”
 
Nurse is going have his best Christmas ever. But the U20 Would Juniors were something that many expected to be added to his hockey resume last season.
 
Photo by Getty Images.
After a highly publicized and scrutinized decision by Team Canada to exclude Nurse last year, a decision that was made simply due to numbers (as explained by Ryan Jankowski, the chief scout for Hockey Canada), the defenceman says the slight didn’t add to his desire to crack this years roster.  Just being involved is all the motivation any player should need.
 
“I think just knowing the opportunity was there to be able to play in front of family and friends and be apart of this team was motivation in its self,” said Nurse. “I don’t think there’s really need for any added motivation other than that. It’s just great to have the opportunity to be a part of this team, this year and this time around.”
 
It’s hard to believe that a highly competitive, top-ranked athlete wouldn’t feel the need to prove anyone wrong. However, that response is probably more demonstration of his growing maturity, then anything else.
 
The second-year captain of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds isn’t the first big name to be left off a WJC roster; others include Carey Price and Taylor Hall.
 
Though the 19-year-old’s focus is on the present, his past includes two bronze medals in international competition; first in the 2012 U17 World Championships (5 games played, 1 goal and two assists) and then during the 2012 U18 World Juniors (7 games, 4 penalty minutes and +4 rating). He has tasted gold as well, following the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament held in the Czech Republic. Canada won out.
 
Being a part of this tournament is a huge deal for the Subway Series standout and, although earning a full-time gig in the NHL is the ultimate goal, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Nurse says winning gold would trump another of his major accomplishments.
 
“Being drafted is an incredible dream that came true, but to be a part of a team that would win it all would be the most special thing to have in my hockey career,” Nurse said, although he is careful to never get to far ahead of himself.

“That’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of dedication, time put in and work on the ice to accomplish that.”
 
Whether it’s irony or just hoping for the same outcome, Nurse says the most memorable tournament for him was Canada’s fifth consecutive gold medal win in 2009, against the Swedes.  It was the tournament that made Nurse’s future teammate, Jordan Eberle, a household name following a heroic last-second goal against the Russians in the semi-finals.
 
So far in pre-season action, Canada has beaten Sweden 5-2 and blanked Switzerland 6-0. 
 
If unable to claim a medal this year, it would be the first time since 1979-1981 that Canada would have gone three years without claiming any hardware. Nurse will have an integral role to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Barons Player StatsAHL StandingsBarons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12
Stats Updated as of Wednesday, December 24, 2014 | * - Player on AHL contract with Oklahoma City Barons

Oklahoma City (AHL)


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
KEITH AULIE D 25 8 0 1 1 -6 0
BRANDON DAVIDSON D 23 16 1 3 4 +6 15
TRAVIS EWANYK F 21 27 1 2 3 -11 36
MATT FORD* F 30 26 9 10 19 +1 12
MARTIN GERNAT d 21 25 0 3 3 +3 14
LUKE GAZDIC F 25 5 2 0 2 -1 7
CURTIS HAMILTON
F 22 27 6 10 16 +4 14
RYAN HAMILTON
F 29 26 11 8 19 +4 2
BRAD HUNT D 26 17 7 15 22 +7 6
CONNOR JONES*
F 24 1 0 0 0 -1 0
KELLEN JONES*
F 24 2 1 0 1 -1 0
KALE KESSY
F 21 17 3 3 6 -7 61
JUJHAR KHAIRA
F 20 24 1 2 3 -5 30
OSCAR KLEFBOM   d 21 9 1 7 8 +10 4
ANTON LANDER
F 23 26 8 19 27 +5 16
KELLAN LAIN F 25 2 0 0 0 0 4
C.J. LUDWIG* D 24 12 1 2 3 -1 22
MARTIN MARINCIN
D 22 11 0 2 2 -1 6
ANDREW MILLER F 26 27 8 11 19 +2 4
MITCH MOROZ F 20 24 0 2 2 -3 39
DAVID MUSIL D 21 23 0 2 2 -7 15
JORDAN OESTERLE  D 22 29 4 9 13 -6 4
IIRO PAKARINEN F 23 23 10 5 15 +10 10
STEVE PINIZZOTTO
F 30 9 0 6 6 +3 40
TYLER PITLICK
F 23 14 3 6 9 +2 8
DILLON SIMPSON
d 21 26 2 3 5 -3 4
JASON WILLIAMS*
F 34 27 12 17 29 +2 16
BOGDAN YAKIMOV
F 20 24 2 7 9 +1 10
JOSH WINQUIST*
F 18 7 1 1 2 +1 2
Bakersfield (ECHL)
Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
GRAEME CRAIG* D 21 30 4 3 7 +1 33
CONNOR JONES* F 24 27 10 16 26 +3 29
KELLEN JONES* F 24 27 7 18 24 +3 12
C.J. LUDWIG* D 24 7 1 5 6 +1 2
JOSH WINQUIST* F 21 18 5 18 23 -6 11
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
BEN BETKER   d 20 27 1 6 7 +9 27 EVERETT (WHL)
GREG CHASE  C 19 15 2 13 15 +2 20 CALGARY (WHL)
11 4 7 11 -4 11 victoria (whl)
JACKSON HOUCK
f 19 29 12 15 27 -3 34 VANCOUVER (WHL)
DARNELL NURSE D 19 19 6 13 19 +3 34 SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)
KYLE PLATZER F 19 32 17 28 45 +9 24 OWEN SOUND (OHL)
MARCO ROY
F 20 26 17 11 28 +9 14 QUEBEC (qmjHL)
NCAA, Junior A & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   f 21 14 4 9 13 +5 12 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
LIAM COUGHLIN
F 20 34 14 28 42 0 16 VERNON (BCHL)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
d 18 22 1 11 12 +9 48 DUBUQUE (USHL)
JOEY LALEGGIA  d 22 14 6 6 12 +4 25 DENVER (NCAA)
JOHN MCCARRON   f 22 11 0 5 5 0 8 CORNELL (NCAA)
AIDAN MUIR   F 19 15 1 5 6 +4 2 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL F 20 18 4 8 12 +8 0 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK
f 23 38 17 11 28 +2 20 VITYAZ (KHL)
PHILIP LARSEN
f 24 35 1 10 11 -8 22 YUGRA (KHL)
ANTON SLEPYSHEV
f 20 39 5 7 12 -3 8 UFA (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN
F 25 27 4 4 8 -6 40 TAMPERE (FINLAND)
DANIIL ZHARKOV
F 20 6 0 0 0 +2 4 NIZHNY NOVGOROD (KHL)
28 1 3 4 -10 14 HK SAROV (VHL)
2014 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
DARNELL NURSE
D 19 - - - - - -   -
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T SO GAA SV% team
RICHARD BACHMAN   27 14 8 3 3   0 2.54 .914 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
KEVEN BOUCHARD  18 20 5 9 3   0 4.59 .849 VAL D'OR (QMJHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 21 14 8 4 0   2 2.40 .923 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
TYLER BUNZ   22 11 4 6 1   2.39 .901 wichita (ECHL)
ZACHARY NAGELVOORT
20 13 6 6 0   1 2.78 .904 MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TY RIMMER*
22 18 7 8 1   2 3.44 .887 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
Frans Tuohimaa   23 14 7 4 2   0 2.63 .900 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
3 2 0 1   0 4.22 .904 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)


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