AN EASY DECISION FOR MYERS
|Tyler Myers' dual citizenship has allowed him to play for both sides of the US-Canadian border, but he'll suit up for the black and red in the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships.|
What's a 6-foot-7 defensive prospect to do?
Easy, Myers figured. Go with what got you here.
Myers, who is a citizen of both the United States and Canada because he moved with his father and stepmother from Texas to Calgary eight years ago, is hoping to play for his new country in the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships as a way of giving back.
"I picked Canada because I feel I wouldn't be where I am today as a hockey player if I hadn't moved to Canada with my dad," Myers, who was drafted by Buffalo in the first round this year, told NHL.com. "I feel I owe them a lot." Myers actually picked Canada in April when he played for Pat Quinn at the 2008 IIHF World Men's Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia.
He played for Team USA at the 2007 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in Slovakia/Czech Republic last summer before returning to Canada to play for the WHL's Kelowna Rockets. At the end of the season he received his Canadian citizenship, which gave him his choice of sweaters to wear.
Numbers game – Just in case you were interested, here's a quick breakdown of the camp by numbers:
When factoring in Zach Boychuk, Cody Goloubef and Thomas Hickey, the three players here but not skating, there are 47 players in camp.
Going off the teams they played for in 2007-08, the WHL has the most players in camp with 18. It's followed by the OHL, which has 13. The QMJHL has 10. There are five players who play in the NCAA.
Corey Trivino is the only player in camp who did not play major junior hockey or NCAA hockey last year. He played for the Stouffville Spirit of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League, but he's headed to Boston University in the fall.
Trivino is one of five Islanders draft picks in camp, the most of any team. Los Angeles, Carolina and Buffalo each have three. St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Calgary, Minnesota, Vancouver, Toronto, Anaheim, Edmonton and Phoenix have two. The New York Rangers, Washington, Florida, Atlanta and Chicago are the five teams that do not have a prospect in camp.
No Steve, no problem – It's hard to find someone in the hockey world that knows Steve Stamkos better than Mark Katic. The two played together for the Sarnia Sting last year and lived together with the same host family.
Katic, though, isn't so disappointed that his good buddy had to decline the invitation to Hockey Canada's National Junior Team Development Camp. Stamkos, who was the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, is instead attending Tampa Bay's development camp in Victoria, B.C., this week.
"If he was going to be on the other team, it's better that he's not here," Katic, the New York Islanders' defensive prospect, jokingly told NHL.com. "It would have been great to have him here, but he has other priorities right now and I think I'll be just fine without him."
Serious competition – Chet Pickard is hopeful that he'll not only make Team Canada's roster for the World Junior Championships, but that he'll be the starting goalie for the squad.
Still, Pickard, who Nashville selected with the 18th pick in this year's draft, knows the competition is not only stiff, it's quite deep.
Spokane Chiefs goalie Dustin Tokarski, who was the MVP of the Memorial Cup this past spring, is also here along with Vancouver Giants goalie Tyson Sexsmith, who won the Memorial Cup in 2007, and Jake Allen of the QMJHL's St. John's Fog Devils.
And those are just the guys who were invited to camp. "The other three are top notch goalies, but not only that there are a lot of goalies that aren't here," Pickard told NHL.com. "I'm given an opportunity now to show what I got and it's important. Come the season, I have to start off well because when you look at the past, Jeff Glass (2005) and Justin Pogge (2006) weren't even invited to this summer camp and wound up as starting goalies. Right now I'm competing against the three here, but come the regular season it's against all the goalies across the CHL."
A leg up – Paul Byron isn't getting any preferential treatment just because he plays for Groulx during the regular season, but the diminutive forward feels he has an advantage over the 43 other skaters because he knows the coach better than they do.
"I know all the drills and I'm used to the way he coaches and what he expects out of all his players," Byron, who is a waif-like 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds, told NHL.com. "I know what he expects out of me, so definitely I think I have an advantage there."
Byron is the only member of Groulx's Gatineau Olympiques in camp. The Buffalo Sabres’ sixth-round pick in 2007 scored a league-best 21 goals in the QMJHL playoffs, leading Gatineau to the championship.
"These guys are the 44 best players in the country and no one has a roster spot on this team," Byron said. "(Groulx) is going to put the best players on the ice, so I have to do whatever I can to earn a spot on the team."