Red Deer Rebels Ollie Josephson looks forward to fulfilling a childhood dream of representing Canada internationally.
The 17-year-old from Victoria, B.C. was selected to play for Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
From July 31 – Aug. 5 Josephson and Team Canada will begin their quest for gold in Trencin, Slovakia, and Breclav, Czechia.
Josephson will wear the maple leaf for the first time in his young hockey career and told The Advocate he found out the good news after a phone call from Canada head coach Alan Letang.
“I’m really excited and honoured to be chosen to get the opportunity to play with such great players and represent my country,” he said.
“It was a really cool feeling when I heard the news.”
Last summer Rebels Kalan Lind played for Team Canada who won gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer. After watching his teammate succeed in the tournament, Josephson made it a goal of his to make the squad this year.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity,” he added.
He’s one of eight Western Hockey League players named to the roster, many of which he’s played against. He’s also joined by fellow B.C. residents Jordan Gavin, Carson Wetsch, and Cayden Lindstrom on Canada. He played alongside all three on Team B.C. at the WHL Cup.
In Josephson’s 2022-23 rookie campaign, the left shooting forward notched five goals and 14 assists for 19 points in 63 games with the Rebels. He also added three points in 12 playoff games.
This summer the Rebels rookie of the year has been training on the ice five to six times a week and has been hitting the gym. His goals are to bulk up and get a little bit faster before returning to Red Deer for training camp in August.
“I was happy with my season. I have some really good teammates, coaches, and management around me to help me succeed. I was grateful for the opportunity last year and I learned a lot. I also had a lot of fun,” he said.
“There is a lot of learning to do as a 16-year-old. There are some good players in that league so I just took bits and pieces from the veterans on the team. Trying to implement them into my game was definitely helpful.”
During that time they’ll face off against Hungary’s national under-20 team on July 27 at 10:30 a.m. Mountain time.
In pre-tournament action, Canada will face Czechia on July 29 at 10:30 a.m. in Breclav. They then open the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup against Finland on July 31 at 7:30 a.m.