PHOTO: Harbir Sidhu at Men’s National Program Carding and Identification Camp on October 19, 2016
The Men’s National Program 2017 Carding and Identification Camp is set to come to a close with a scrimmage Friday evening, and many junior athletes are keen on making a lasting final impression.
With the roster for Canada’s 2016 Junior World Cup team to be announced next week, there is no need for motivation to perform.
But the World Cup implications are not the only reason this week’s Camp has carried weight for some of Canada’s juniors.
“I really want to crack the Senior Team or make some tours,” says Harbir Sidhu, who is in contention for a spot on this year’s Junior World Cup team. “Right now I’m trying really hard to show what I’ve got, and show that I can filter in and play the way that we’re supposed to play.”
Sidhu is one of a handful of player who, at times, trained with the Senior group throughout this past year.
And players like him are hoping to make enough of an impact this week and potentially at the Junior World Cup in December to be in conversation for Senior selection in 2017.
And according to man at the head of the program, there is a good chance that happens.
“There is always that eye on that and what the underpinning guys are doing and how they might add value to the senior group,” says Men’s National Team head coach Anthony Farry. “So there is a real possibility that a few of these junior guys could come straight into the Men’s National Team let alone the Senior Development Squad.”
But to do that, it will come down to more than just play on the field.
“A lot the stuff that we’re going to do is around their character, to see what kind of character they are,” he says.
“We know there’s a lot of guys here that can play hockey, but we want to make sure they’re the right fit for the group moving forward, not only in terms of being a good hockey player but being a really good person.”
Sidhu, who has spent the last year as both a part of the Junior and Senior Development Squads, heard the message loud and clear.
“Sometimes you just have to grind it out,” he says of his approach to the Carding Camp and moving forward into the next year of competition. “They keep on telling us ‘character, character.’
Whether it’s running four hundreds or running back and forth between drills, it’s just working as hard as you can. I think that they see big value in that; showing that you can put it all out there.”