Following the conclusion of the Senators season, rookie defenceman Thomas Chabot answered the call to represent his country on Team Canada again, this time at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark.
His experience so far has been a bit different from participating in the World Juniors, which Chabot has done twice for Canada, and he's thoroughly enjoying the mix of competitive hockey and cultural opportunities.
"Honestly, it's a lot of fun to play in this tournament. It's always a bit of a downer when your season ends so it's fun to get to keep playing," said Chabot. "Team Canada's goal is always to win but we're having a lot of fun as a group. You've got more freedom than during the World Juniors for example, in that you're allowed to visit parts of the city so it's been a blast so far."
It hasn't all been smooth sailing for Chabot though. Prior to the tournament games getting underway, he shared that he had a difficult time landing on a number to wear before eventually ending up with #52.
"When I got there, I asked for #72 but Anthony Beauvillier had it," Chabot recalled. "So I asked for #5 which was my old Junior number but Aaron Ekblad already took it. Then I tried for #55 figuring I'd just do my old number twice but Colton Parayko already had it. Next I asked for #25 because I wore that number back in Midget AAA but Darnell Nurse already had it. So then I tried #27 because it's my current number just flipped but Ryan Murray already had it. Finally I just said 'give me #52…there's a 2 and a 5 in there and 2+5=7 so just give me that one I guess'."
Chabot admits that his isn't too bothered after receiving his sixth choice and understands that's it's the burden the younger players on the team all go through for tournaments like this.
"As a young guy on the team you don't have a lot of seniority for these kinds of things," Chabot joked. "Beauvillier is the same age as I am but he's been in the NHL for two years so that's how it works. Let him have it…I'm not huge on my number anyway."
When it comes to highlights so far at the World Championships, Chabot noted that it has been great to share the trip overseas with teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau. While Chabot has lined up with Team Canada on a few occasions, this marks Pageau's first call to play on the national team and Chabot is excited to be a part of it.
"He told me before the tournament that he's never played for Team Canada so it's really cool to be with him to share this experience with a good teammate and makes the trip even better," Chabot said. "Everyone back in Ottawa knows how great of a guy that he is so it's been a blast and we're having a lot of fun."
Chabot has also seen some familiar faces lined up across from him at this tournament as Team Canada was matched up against fellow Senator Colin White and Team USA in their first game.
"It's not the first time I've played against Colin. I kind of wish we would have won because it reminded me of the game at the World Juniors where it ended in a shootout," said Chabot about the 5-4 loss to Team USA. "They got the win but it's always great to play against a guy that you've known for a couple of years. It's something you think about before the game that gives you a little extra challenge because you want to beat him."
Team Canada followed up their opening day loss to the Americans with back-to-back wins over South Korea and Denmark where Chabot chipped in offensively with an assist in each victory. His experience away from the rink has been just as much fun as he has been doing his best to take in all that Denmark has to offer.
"We've had quite a few days without practice so we've been able to walk around the city a little bit," Chabot said. "Obviously, we travel a lot during the season and you get to see different cities but it's always fun to be in Europe and experience the different culture. The other day we got to see some "kayak polo" or whatever they call it. It's like water polo but in a kayak so it's just fun to see things like that."
Team Canada has 4 games remaining on their preliminary schedule and you can catch all their games on TSN:
- Thursday, May 10th at 2:15 p.m. - vs. Norway
- Saturday, May 12th at 2:15 p.m. - vs. Finland
- Monday, May 14th at 2:15 p.m. - vs. Latvia
- Tuesday, May 15th at 10:15 a.m. - vs. Germany