High expectations for Nugent-Hopkins with Canadian juniors

CALGARY — Once again, an NHL lockout is creating unexpected benefits for Canada’s junior hockey team.

CALGARY — Once again, an NHL lockout is creating unexpected benefits for Canada’s junior hockey team.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins arrived in Calgary on Monday for the junior team’s selection camp.

He’s already played for Canada in the men’s world hockey championship this year, but the NHL lockout means the 19-year-old will get to play in the world junior championship for the first time in his career.

That also occurred during the NHL lockout of 2004-05, when Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron was named the most valuable player of the 2005 junior tournament in Grand Forks, N.D., after helping Canada win gold at the 2004 world championship in Prague.

Nugent-Hopkins has a full NHL season behind him in which he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy that goes to the league’s top rookie. The Oilers didn’t make him available to the Canadian team that won bronze at the 2012 world junior championship in Alberta.

Now, two years after he was cut from Canada’s junior team at age 17, Nugent-Hopkins is expected to lead it into the tournament starting Dec. 26 in Ufa, Russia.

“I’ve got to try to take on more of a leadership role this year,” Nugent-Hopkins said Monday at the Calgary airport.

“As a 17-year-old, I couldn’t come into camp and do that. I’m definitely going to try and take some experience from worlds and bring it to this camp here.

“I feel like I’m a different person than I was a couple of years ago. My game has definitely evolved a lot and I see myself more as a two-way player right now so I’m definitely going to try and take on that role at this camp.”

Since Nugent-Hopkins brings hockey experience to this Canadian team no other players have, Hockey Canada’s expectations of him are high.

“He’s a special player,” Hockey Canada head scout Kevin Prendergast said.

“For a young man to step into the National Hockey League and do exactly what he did last year, he brings high energy with him, he’s offensively gifted and he makes everybody on the ice a better hockey player.

“From that standpoint, it can’t help but help us.”

The 36 players invited to this year’s selection camp streamed through the Calgary airport Monday. Nugent-Hopkins arrived on a flight with Edmonton Oil Kings goaltender Laurent Brossoit and defenceman Griffin Reinhart.

The players get on the ice Tuesday at Canada Olympic Park and the 23-player team will be chosen by Thursday. The invitees will play an intra-squad game Tuesday followed by games against university players the following two days.

The Oilers confirmed on the weekend Nugent-Hopkins was available for selection camp before the NHL’s announcement Monday that the cancellation of games has been extended to Dec. 30.

“For Edmonton to allow us to work with Ryan, we’re very grateful that the Edmonton Oilers have allowed us access to Ryan-Nugent Hopkins,” Canadian coach Steve Spott said.

“Ryan’s message has been very up front with us and that’s been he wants to be treated like every other player. We know the pressures that are going to come because he is a world-class player. I can tell you as a coaching staff we’re going to treat him like a regular 19-year-old and ultimately put him in situations where he needs to be great.”

Nugent-Hopkins was included on the camp roster announced a week earlier, but there was some question about the health of his shoulder, even though he’d been playing for the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons this season.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

March will be dramatically warmer through the prairies

Bharat Masrani, CEO, TD Bank Group speaks at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

Shares in metals and mining companies have rebounded sharply

A worker carrying a disinfectant sprayer walks past a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after cleaning another plane at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

Layoff notices to go out ahead of the expiration of a memorandum of agreement

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

Canada has ordered 24 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend Sunday Service, in Abbotsford, B.C., Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. A legal advocacy group challenging British Columbia’s COVID-19 restrictions on worship services and public protests is scheduled to be in court today arguing for the church and others that COVID-19 restrictions violate their charter rights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Churches in court to challenge British Columbia’s COVID-19 health orders

Calgary-based organization says it represents over a dozen individuals and faith communities in the province

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson makes a shot against Team Alberta as second Shannon Birchard, right, and lead Briane Meilleur sweep in the semi-final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson wins second straight Canadian women’s curling championship

Einarson and her teammates celebrated Sunday in the silence in an empty arena

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes on Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
With loved ones and pets, Globes winners embrace cozier show

Nicole Kidman and musician-husband Keith Urban got glammed up to sit on their couch

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Schitt’s Creek nabs two Golden Globes for its final season

Catherine O’Hara named best television actress in a musical or comedy

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Most Read