Three Voltigeurs de Drummondville coaches are among the 34 players invited to the Junior Team Canada selection camp for the upcoming U20 World Junior Hockey Championship.
Joseph Veleno (18), Nicolas Beaudin.(18) and Maxime Comtois (19) will compete for a place with five other representatives of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). After the Hockey Canada announcement on Monday, the three players met the media at the Marcel-Dionne Center.
Last year, Comtois was one of two QMJHL representatives with Drake Batherson in the Canadian squad that won gold in Buffalo. However, it does not take anything for granted.
“I’m less stressed this year, but I do not feel comfortable anymore. It’s sure that last year’s experience will help me at the camp. Representing Canada is a unique experience. It’s always special and it’s going to be fun. Last year, there were three QMJHL guys at camp, this year we are eight. We will push ourselves and we will compete to be the most guys on the team, “said Maxime Comtois.
The striker, who has seven points in ten games with the Anaheim Ducks this season, said he wants to play a leadership role in the Canadian squad.
Comtois and London Knights forward Alex Formenton are the only two potential veterans of the last Team Canada event. The number 44 Voltigeurs however said that his attitude will remain the same if he did not get the role of captain or assistant.
A first experience
For his part, defenseman Nicolas Beaudin will attempt to represent Canada for the first time in his career on the international scene. The Chicago Blackhawks’ hope will accept any role in Canadian training.
“It’s big for me, acknowledged the defender Voltigeurs. Yesterday (Sunday), I was at the restaurant with my family and I got a call and it was Hockey Canada. I am really excited and honored to go to the final camp. I have memories of Jordan Eberle’s goal against Russia (in 2009), when I watched the tournament on television. It is a tradition in Quebec and it would be an honor to be part of it. No matter what role I’m going to have, I’m going to adjust myself and I’ll do what they ask. “
As for Joseph Veleno, the center player will try to maintain his momentum in the selection camp.
He has collected 45 points in 25 games this season.
“It’s a dream for me to play for Team Canada and it’s something that I really want to succeed,” said the principal. I will have to keep my game simple. I know a good start to the season. I do not want to change a lot of things. I want to bring the same thing that I bring to Drummond. I will accept my role no matter what it is. In Vancouver, it will be special for Team Canada to play in front of our fans. “
The three Voltigeurs players will fly to British Columbia on Monday, December 10th. The Team Canada Junior Selection Camp will be held in Victoria from December 11 to 14, and will include a three-game series against a top-flight team from the Canadian university circuit. A total of 22 players will be selected to represent Canada from December 26 to January 5 in Vancouver.
The absence of the Voltigeurs goaltender at the Junior Team Canada selection camp, Olivier Rodrigue, is a big surprise for many. His teammates planned to see him get an invitation.
“In my opinion, Rodrigue is the best goalkeeper in Quebec. He’s really good at Drummond and we’re lucky to have a guy like him in front of the net. It’s a surprise for me. I was thinking of seeing him at the Team Canada camp, “said teammate Nicolas Beaudin.
The defender des Voltigeurs believes that the gatekeeper native of Saguenay will probably get his chance next year.
“It’s sure that tomorrow (Tuesday) we will go see him with the guys,” he continued. He must be disappointed right now. But at the same time, Rodrigue is just 18 years old. He will be able to recover at 19 years old. I’m sure he’ll be here next year. He will end the year in force with us. It will take us as far as possible in series and that’s the most important thing. “
Goalkeepers, 19-year-old Michael Dipietro, Matthew Villalta and Ian Scott will be battling for the two available positions.