It's been one heck of a week for Edmonton native Joseph Morrow
Not soon after finalizing a three-year entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins
on Wednesday morning, the 6-foot, 197-pound defenseman was on the ice at Rexall Place in Edmonton for the Canadian National Junior Team development camp.
For Morrow, it's a whole new experience as looks to earn a roster spot for the first time on an international stage with Team Canada.
"I went through the Under-16 and U17 tryouts but didn't quite make the cut, so this is pretty key for me to be invited back after not being in their organization for quite a while," Morrow said. "I'm looking forward to it."
And how about getting the opportunity to wear the maple leaf on the jersey?
"There's a first time for everything, and I hope this is the chance I get to make it," he said.
Morrow, chosen 23rd overall by the Penguins last June, helped lead the Portland Winterhawks to the Western Hockey League final in 2010-11, producing 6 goals and 20 points in 21 playoff games. He is scheduled to continue his development in junior hockey this season in Portland.
Now, however, he's just glad to get a shot to be playing for Canadian coach Don Hay.
"He has that reputation of being one of the higher-end coaches in the WHL, so words can't describe how much I want to play for him," Morrow said of Hay. "I've heard a lot about him and when I play against Vancouver (in the WHL), it's always a good game no matter the skill level. They're always a hard-working team, gritty and really solid. He runs a good squad and I'd look forward to it."
Morrow was glad to get the contract issues out of the way and is glad he can now focus on the game.
"It's great to get that (contract) out of the way," he said. "You look forward to that the day after the draft. They'll sign you to the team and you can officially become a part of their organization and I couldn't be happier to sign it in my hometown (Edmonton) and just be a part of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was special."Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale