Bowen Byram to be key Team Canada leader
Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram has again been invited to Canada’s World Junior Hockey Championship team tryouts.
The Colorado Avalanche (4th overall in 2019) draft selection helped lead Canada to a gold medal at last year’s tourney, despite being ill in the final game.
Byram is anticipated to to anchor Canada’s blueline along with fellow returnee Jamie Drysdale, selected sixth overall in this year’s National Hockey League draft. A tough-to-crack top six Avalanche blueline squad should make Byram available for the tourney.
Byram told TSN’s Mark Masters, when asked ‘what role do you see for yourself at the upcoming World Juniors? “I don’t think I have to put too much pressure on myself. I just got to go and be myself and play how I can play. I know a lot of the guys who will be at the camp so that should make things pretty easy. Sometimes guys can put a lot of pressure on themselves thinking they need to be a guy that’s leaned on heavily and obviously I want to be that guy, I want to be leader, but at the same time you just have to let things play out and do things to the best of your ability so that’s all I’m really worried about.”
Hockey Canada’s selection camp take place between Nov. 16 and Dec. 13, in a cohort bubble in Red Deer, Alta.
Final rosters for the tournament will be expanded this year, with 22 skaters and three goaltenders instead of 20 skaters and three goaltenders.
Other players invited to the camp who were part of Canada’s gold medal team last year are: Quinton Byfield, Dylan Cozens, Connor McMichael, Dawson Mercer and Drysdale,.
Also invited are such high drafted players as Cole Perfetti (drafted 10th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in 2020), Dylan Holloway (14th overall by Edmonton Oilers in 2020), Calgary Flames first-round picks Connor Zary and Jakob Pelletier (24th in 2020 and 26th in 2019), Ridly Greig (28th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2020) and Kaiden Guhle (16th overall by Montreal Canadiens in 2020). Sixteen-year-old Kingston Frontenacs phenom Shane Wright has also been invited.
Depending on what the NHL decides in terms of a 2020/2021 season will depend upon the possible availability of such star players as this year’s first overall selection Alexis Lafreniere (New York Rangers) who did not receive an invitation out of the assumption he will make the Rangers.
The 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship begins Christmas Day in a bubble in Edmonton.
Canada opens play on Boxing Day against Germany.
Hockey Canada photo