Rangers prospect Nigel Dawes, a left winger for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) who was selected by the Blueshirts in the fifth round (149th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, has been selected to represent Canada at the 2004 World Junior Championship.
Dawes was one of 22 players selected from a field of 34 who were invited to attend the Canada's National Junior Team Selection Camp.
The 2004 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship will take place from December 26, 2003 to January 5, 2004 in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland.
Dawes currently leads the Western Hockey League with 26 goals and ranks 20th among WHL players with 35 points in 27 games with Kootenay. He has impressed Team Canada officials with his strong work ethic and ability to score during the camp, which he displayed to everyone with a pair of goals in recent intrasquad games.
"This guy can skate, he's not afraid to go in traffic, he can play the power play and the (penalty kill)," Team Canada head coach Mario Durocher recently said of Dawes.
"He brings energy and he scores goals. He doesn't have the greatest shot on the team, but this guy puts the puck behind the goal line. We're not going to have 22 big, tall guys. We're going to have different guys. He brings the qualities we're looking for, too."
"I like trying to prove people wrong," Dawes said. "It (his size) is definitely a knock on me and there is nothing I can really do about it. So far, it hasn't held me back. I like coming in the back door and sneaking in. There's not nearly as much pressure being a fifth-round pick ... It's always good to put up bigger numbers than some higher picks."
Last season, the Winnipeg, Manitoba native led the Ice with 92 points (47 goals, 45 assists) in 72 games. Dawes also attended Canada's National Junior Team Selection Camp in 2002.