Daily Herald Staff
Prince Albert Raider defenseman Josh Morrissey’s whirlwind summer just got a whole lot busier as the 18-year-old was invited to Canada’s national junior team development camp slated for early August in Quebec and Lake Placid, N.Y.
Morrissey is presently in New Jersey for the NHL entry draft on Sunday (television coverage starts at 1 p.m. on TSN), but since the Raiders were eliminated in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs in late March, the Calgary product has travelled to Sochi, Russia, to help Canada win the gold medal at the world under-18 championships in addition to being named the Canadian Hockey League’s scholastic player of the year. The 6-foot, 180-pound Morrissey has also been to Toronto for the annual NHL combine and has visited several teams in the lead-up to the draft where he is expected to go in the top 20.
Morrissey will join 34 other hopefuls for the training session in Quebec, which will feature two days of practises at the Montreal Canadiens training facility in Brossard, Que., before the group heads to Lake Placid for exhibition games on Aug. 7 against Finland, Aug. 8 against Sweden and Aug. 10 against the United States.
The 35 players will then be closely monitored for the initial part of next season and from this group 22 players will represent Canada at the World Junior hockey championship during the Christmas break in Malmo, Sweden.
Morrissey, who had 15 goals and 32 assists for the Raiders last year, has a long history with Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence as he was a member of Team Pacific at the world under-17 challenge in 2012 before helping Canada to a bronze-medal finish at the world under-18 championship last year. He was also a leader on the gold-medal squad at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last fall before sparking Canada to the gold medal this spring at the world under-18 event.
Morrissey isn’t the only player connected to the Raiders to get an invite to a summer development camp as four prospects taken in the 2012 bantam draft will be in Calgary at the end of July to audition for the Team Pacific team that will play in the world under-17 challenge in Cape Breton, N.S.
Nick McBride, Brenden Guhle, Matteo Gennaro and Dylan Stewart are among 46 hopefuls trying to secure a spot on that elite squad. The under-17 team is the first step in the Program of Excellence and all four will use the extra ice time in Calgary to prepare for the Raider training camp, which is set to start at the end of August.