Let me start by saying two things. In nearly 30 years in the media and hockey business, one of the things I dreaded the most was covering the final cutdown at the National Junior Camp. To wait in a hotel lobby at 6 in the morning, to chat with devestated youngsters about being so close to having a dream come true and don the maple leaf on boxing day was heartbreaking.
While I wasnt there today, I feel so so awful for those kids, especially the 1- year-olds who wont get another chance. However for the 22 who have made Canada’s National Junior Team you are in for one amazing experience. This years camp was arguably as competitive as I have ever witnessed. Those final few decisions had to be so tough.
Of those feeling like Christmas morning maybe the neatest story is that of Barrie Colts forward Tanner Pearson. Pearson has passed through two NHL draft and has really never been on Hockey Canada’s radar untilnow. The 19-year-old from Kitchener, ON. came to the Calgary camp as the OHL’s scoring leader with 66 points.
It’s not hard to see why. The six-foot, 198 poundwinger has excellent offensive instincts and never were they more on display than in the third period of last night’s 7-4 win over the CIS All Stars. Pearson was terrific in that frame and showed all the skills including an fabulous release and shot that has turned this into a season not even he could imagine.
Tanner the fun has only begun, Congratulations and I hope you find the net on a regular basis come Boxing Day.
And yes your name will be called in Pittsburgh in June.. A good world junior tournament and you just might hear your name being uttered early …..As in round one early.