SUMMERSIDE – Noah Dobson will not be disappointed if he’s not home for Christmas.
That will mean the Summerside native will have made Team Canada’s roster for the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation world junior championship.
“When you get a chance to play in the world juniors in Canada, you are fine being away from home for Christmas,” Dobson told the Journal Pioneer in a phone interview Monday evening. “I’m going to go to the camp, and see what happens.”
Dobson, a defenceman and team captain of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, was one of 34 players named to Team Canada’s selection camp that runs from Dec. 11 to 14 in Victoria, B.C.
Canada’s roster will be trimmed to 22 players for the tournament, which takes place in Vancouver and Victoria from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. The selection camp roster features three goaltenders, 12 defencemen and 19 forwards, and just two returnees – Maxime Comtois and Alex Formenton – from last year’s gold-medal-winning team.
Charlottetown Islanders defenceman and team captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph will also compete for a roster spot while Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton is an assistant coach with Team Canada.
“Our evaluation process through summer camp, the CHL season, Canada-Russia Series and now selection camp allows us to assess and assemble the top Canadian players to represent our country,” said Hockey Canada’s director of men’s national teams, Shawn Bullock, in a media release. “Our final decisions will be difficult ones, but we couldn’t be more excited to gather in Victoria and begin the road to representing Canada in Vancouver.”
Cheering on Team Canada at the world junior championship has developed into a nationwide tradition, and watching the tournament has been a big part of Dobson’s life growing up.
“Certainly, for myself, my family and a lot of other families, it’s tradition over the holidays on Boxing Day to tune into the world juniors,” said Dobson. “It’s a historic event, and obviously to have a chance to be part of it is pretty special. I’m just going to go there and try to earn a spot.”
Dobson, who was drafted by the New York Islanders in the first round, 12th overall, in the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft, says he’s “excited” to be invited to the selection camp.
“It’s a pretty special honour to get an invite for the camp,” continued the 18-year-old son of Andrew and Jenny Dobson. “It’s going to be a pretty nerve-racking couple of days.
“It’s a short four-day camp, and then they pick the team. You have to go there and be ready to compete because there are going to be lots of spots available, and lots of guys competing for spots.
“You have to go there with the right mindset, play your game and hopefully earn a spot.”
Dobson, who was a key contributor to the Titan winning the 2018 QMJHL and Memorial Cup championships, will enter the selection camp with plenty of international experience to draw on. He previously played for Canada Red in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, won a gold medal with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament and played for Team QMJHL in the Canada-Russia Series.
“All the stuff you have learned from there can really help you,” said Dobson. “You get see how strong the international stage is, and having the opportunity to win a gold medal with Team Canada, I saw what it takes to win.
“You have to have everyone buying into the system, and you have to have all the guys willing to accept their role. I kind of know what to expect going into the international game, and what it takes to win at that level.”
to compete because there are going to be lots of spots available, and lots of guys competing for spots. You have to go there with the right mindset, play your game and hopefully earn a spot.”