Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey skates in a Nov. 6 contest against the Swift Current Broncos. Morrissey was one of four WHL defenceman invited to attend Team Canada's World Junior Hockey Championship training camp in Toronto. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Back with the team after a taste of international play in the 2013 Subway Super Series last week, Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey received an invite to Team Canada’s World Junior Championship selection camp on Monday.
Morrissey said it’s been a boyhood dream of his to represent Canada at the WJHC and recognizes the hard work he’ll need to put in to get there.
“My goal has always been to have the chance to play for the World Junior team,” Morrissey said of the invite. “It’s another step closer, there is a lot of work to go.”
In previous years, Team Canada has invited up to 40 players to attend camp. This year, only 25 players were summoned, meaning Morrissey will likely have to survive a single cut to crack the roster.
A total of eight CHL defencemen were invited to camp including Portland Winterhawks Derrick Pouliot, Edmonton Oil Kings Griffin Reinhart and Kelowna Rockets Damon Severson.
“It is a huge honour to be named to that group and hopefully I can play my best and it will end up working out for me,” Morrissey said.
Morrissey said playing in international tournaments is a whole different animal compared to league play.
“Most of those situations are tournaments so it’s a shorter event,” Morrissey said. “You have less time to gel as a team and you definitely have to be ready right off the bat. It’s a short-term event as opposed to an entire season.”
Morrissey is no stranger to playing on the world stage having previously represented Canada at the 2012 and 2013 World Under-18 Championships. Most recently, Morrissey posted a rating of plus-three in two games in the Subway Series against the Russian Juniors.
“I did the things I needed to do to be successful,” Morrissey said of his play in the series, which saw the CHL triumphant over Team Russia. “It was nice to get the win the second game and win the series for the CHL.”
The first game of the WJHC is scheduled for Dec. 26 in Malmo, Sweden, a tilt between Canada and Germany. Should Morrissey crack the squad, there is a strong possibility he will face-off against Raiders teammate, centre Leon Draisaitl who will be gunning represent his native Germany in the tournament.
“Leon and I kind of joke about it sometimes,” Morrissey said of potentially defending against his team’s top forward. “We played against each other last year at the U-18 in Russia, It was pretty fun and we exchanged some words on the ice and had a little bit of fun with it. It would definitely be pretty cool.”
According to a Raiders press release, Morrissey is expected to depart for the selection camp on Dec. 11, following a tilt against the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Art Hauser Centre.