On Wednesday, Hockey Canada announced the addition of five players to the 2020 National Junior Team summer development camp roster, which will be held virtually for five-straight days, from Monday, July 27 to Friday, July 31. Already having invited 41 players to ‘attend’ back in mid-June, the executive staff felt the need to add four additional defencemen and one forward to the mix.
Of the five names is Brandon product Daemon Hunt. The 18-year-old defenceman suited up for 28 games with the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors in 2019-20, collecting 15 assists, while wearing an ‘A’ on his sweater. He has previously represented Canada at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, the 2018 IIHF U-18 World Championship and the 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. The former Brandon Wheat Kings AAA star is eligible to be selected at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft in October.
With the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship still currently expected to run from December 26 to January 5 in Edmonton and Red Deer, AB. despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s summer camp will be held virtually for all invitees.
An updated total of five goaltenders, 14 defencemen and 27 forwards have earned the nod, and will tune in online for the five-day spectacle. The majority of the work will be mentally-driven through online education, directed at long-distance player development and preparedness during the current pandemic. Daily sessions will include training from 12 prominent figures within Hockey Canada, including: coaches, strength and conditioning trainers, video and analytics managers, therapists, physicians and mental performance consultants, amongst others.
Included within the 46 players are seven members of the 2020 Canadian National Junior Team that earned the gold medal at last year’s World Junior Championship. The remaining crew are newcomers, hoping to land a spot on the team. 17 of the 46 have been drafted to the NHL, while the remainder are in consideration for the 2020-22 NHL Entry Drafts.
In addition to Hunt, four other players with relevant connections to Manitoba have been invited to the camp. 16 players hail from Ontario, seven are from Alberta, five are from Quebec, five are from the Maritimes, four are from Saskatchewan, four are from BC, two are from the United States, one is from the Far North and now two players are from Manitoba. The remaining three players associated to the ‘middle province’ play for one of its two Western Hockey League teams.
From Winnipeg, Manitoba, forward Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks has been named a participant in the virtual camp. From the Brandon Wheat Kings, defenceman Braden Schneider and forward Ridly Greig have been selected to the camp. From the Winnipeg ICE, forward Peyton Krebs has been named to the camp roster.
Although not Manitobans, Schneider (Prince Albert), Greig (Lethbridge) and Krebs (Okotoks) typically spend more time within the province annually than Jarvis and Hunt do. Playing with the Winterhawks, Jarvis arguably had the strongest season of the five invitees. Finishing second in league scoring with 42 goals, 98 points and just 24 penalty minutes in 58 games for Portland, the right-handed forward saw a 59 point improvement from the 2018-19 season.
Schneider continued to take big steps forward in his game with Brandon. His seven goals and 42 points led all Wheat Kings blue liners, while finishing 17th across the league in scoring. After back-to-back seasons of 22 and 24 points, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder saw his shooting percentage rise, in accordance with his added time on special teams.
Greig produced at over a point-per-game rate in his second full season with the Wheaties. In 56 games he had 26 goals, 60 points and 83 penalty minutes. He was tied with team points leader Luka Burzan for first amongst the Wheat Kings with nine power play goals on the season. Greig also led Brandon with 26 power play points and a 1.07 point-per-game scoring rate, to go along with four game-winning goals in 2019-20.
After missing significant time to begin the season, Krebs entered the scene in Winnipeg on fire. He ended up pilling on the points, finishing the shortened season with 12 goals and 60 points in just 38 games – by far the least amount of games played for any player within the WHL’s top-70 scorers. Winnipeg’s captain – who has already been drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights – saw his plus/minus rebound significantly after a brutal stat line in his previous two seasons with the cellar-dwelling Kootenay ICE when playing out of Cranbrook. He has since joined the Golden Knights and will continue participating in the NHL’s return-to-action plan as the days progress. His involvement with Hockey Canada will be put on the back-burner.