It's been quite the summer for Nashville Predators prospects Philip Tomasino and Spencer Stastney.
After wearing Preds Gold at June's development camp in Nashville, the two sported uniforms with their country's colors last weekend, representing Canada and the United States at the World Junior Summer Showcase.
Tomasino suited up for Canada and Stastney the U.S. at the showcase, which ran from July 26 to Aug. 3 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. The U-20 camp offered coaches and fans alike the opportunity to evaluate the talent that could hit the ice for the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in December and January. Teams from Canada, Sweden, Finland and the United States took part, playing in a combined 11 exhibition games.
Nashville's first-round pick (24th overall) in June's NHL Draft, Tomasino had four shots in two games for Canada at the showcase. The Mississauga, Ontario, native, who turned 18 on July 28, was the second-youngest forward on Canada's roster and centered his team's third line in its camp finale versus the U.S. on Saturday. He'll skate for Niagara of the Ontario Hockey League this season after posting 72 points (34g-38a) for the IceDogs in 2018-19.
"It was awesome to get the chance to wear that jersey and play alongside some great players," Tomasino said. "I had a great time and got a chance to see what the tournament in December is like. I think it was good for me to compete against those types of players and push myself against that level of competition. It was a great week, and I'm thankful to be given that opportunity by Hockey Canada."
Stastney, a fifth-round pick (131st overall) of the Preds in the 2018 NHL Draft, played in five games for the United States last weekend and is no stranger to wearing the red, white and blue. A two-year defenseman for the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2016-18, Stastney picked up an assist in the Americans' 7-1 win over Finland on July 28 and frequently saw time on the team's second d-pairing. The Mequon, Wisconsin, native will return to the University of Notre Dame in the fall for his sophomore season with the Fighting Irish.
"It was a great experience for me," Stastney said. "It was fun being back in Plymouth and seeing all of my former teammates and the USA staff. The games were fun and challenging; it definitely was a good way for me to start off the second half of the summer."
They were Preds teammates in June, but both Tomasino and Stastney hope to compete against each other in this year's edition of the World Junior Championship, which runs from Dec. 26, 2019 to Jan. 5, 2020, in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic. Final rosters - including the Canadian and American entries - are expected to be revealed a few weeks before the competition begins.