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‘It’s been a dream of mine’: Danielson headed to Team Canada selection camp

The World Junior begin on Boxing Day in Sweden
Brandon Wheat Kings forward Nate Danielson skates through the neutral zone. (Photo supplied by Scramble Studio)

Few get to represent their country at the international level in hockey, especially on as big of a stage as the World Juniors.

That’s why Red Deer’s Nate Danielson isn’t taking his invitation lightly to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp.

“It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid to be able to play in the World Juniors,” Danielson told The Advocate.

“When I got the call last week it was pretty exciting and I’m looking forward to getting down to Oakville and getting started.”

Danielson will join 29 others competing to land a spot on the Canadian roster for the upcoming 2024 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

The selection camp will run from Dec. 10 to 13 at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville, Ont. They’ll also play exhibition games against the USports All-Stars on Dec. 12 and 13.

Team Canada will then travel to Sweden on Dec. 14 to begin pre-tournament camp before the World Juniors start on Boxing Day in Gothenburg, Sweden. Up first for the Canadians will be a matchup against Finland at 8:30 a.m.

Danielson has fond memories of watching the tournament over the years saying it became a family tradition to watch every Team Canada game together.

“It’s something I’ve always looked forward to every holiday season,” he said. “I think watching McDavid in those years while back were pretty special. There’s been some pretty special moments like the Jordan Eberle goal that are engrained in history.”

Every year millions of eyes watch the world’s best junior hockey players take the ice in the tournament. Team Canada will look to defend their gold medal title won in Halifax in 2023 and with that comes high expectations.

Danielson certainly knows what’s at stake and the pressures that come with representing Canada.

“A lot of Canadians love the tournament and it’s a really important deal for Canada. It’s pretty special to be a part of it and I’m just looking to have a good camp and hopefully make the team,” he said.

This season Danielson has notched 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 22 games with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He also missed the first seven games of the season while at the Detroit Red Wings training camp.

The 19-year-old was selected ninth overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft last summer by the Red Wings after a career-high 78 points with the Wheat Kings in the 2022-23 season.

Danielson will head to Oakville this Sunday for the Canadian selection camp and said he’s focused on sticking to his game.

“I think I’m a good 200-foot player and defensively I’m a reliable player,” he said.

“I can play against the team’s best players and offensively I bring a lot of creativity and skill. I have that finish to be able to put the puck in the back of the net as well.”

He was also one of nine Western Hockey League players invited including goaltender Scott Ratzlaff (Seattle Thunderbirds), forward Jagger Firkus (MJ Warriors), defenceman Denton Mateychuk (MJ Warriors), defenceman Tanner Molendyk (Saskatoon Blades), forward Conor Geekie (Wenatchee Wild), forward Fraser Minten (Saskatoon Blades), forward Matthew Savoie (Wenatchee Wild), and forward Brayden Yager (MJ Warriors).

“Right now I’m just trying to stay focused on making the team. Getting to represent your country is special and something I’d be looking forward to.”

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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