It’s getting closer to the holiday season and what’s the most Canadian tradition? Watching the World Juniors of course!
Black Press Media’s Jordy Cunningham sat down with Kelowna Rockets captain Colton Dach about making the Canadian World Juniors team, how the experience has been leading up to the tournament, and more.
Cunningham (C): What was it like being told that you’re on the team?
Dach (D): It was obviously surreal, like a moment in my life I’ve always wanted so it was definitely awesome to get that knock at the door and tell me I was going to be apart of the 2023 World Juniors.
C: What did you feel in that moment and what was the first thing you did?
D: First thing I did was shake their hands [the coaches] and called my parents right after, just all excitement. You know, it was just a proud moment for me.
C: What’s the experience been like for you so far leading up to the World Juniors?
D: Yeah right now were just practicing, trying to get in sync with some guys obviously. There’s guys that’ve played with some guys on the team so you’re just trying to find that team chemistry and hopefully get ready for Boxing Day.
C: What’s it like getting to know the guys? Cause you know a few of the guys playing against them quite regularly but than there’s guys from other leagues around the country so what’s it like getting to know the guys?
D: Yeah, it’s awesome. I think anytime you can come to tournaments like this and meet new guys, make new friends, it’s awesome. I think it expands your horizon a little bit so its nice to meet new guys obviously and they’re a good group of guys.
C: Boxing Day, December 26th, first game of the tournament, you’re playing Czechia. Are you going to give your Kelowna Rockets teammate Gabriel Szturc a run in that game?
D: (laughs) I’m going to let him know were playing against him so he’s definitely going to know that I’m on the other side for sure.
C: How excited are you that he’s there as well at the tournament?
D: Yeah I know, it’s awesome that he gets to represent his country as well. You know it’s something we were joking about when the invitations came out, we were chirping back and forth but you know it’s going to be a fun game obviously for the few of us and can’t wait for it.
C: How many friends and family are you going to have in attendance all tournament long?
D: I think there’s a few friends and family, obviously my parents are coming down, a few aunts and uncles. Some of my buddies aren’t really going to make the trip out here but they said they’re going to be watching on tv.
C: What does it mean to you to dawn the red and white and maple leaf for your country?
D: Yeah it’s something I’ve never had the opportunity to do before so I’m really thankful I get this chance to do that.
C: What are your expectations going into the tournament? Obviously Canada’s expectations are always high, the highest they can be but what are your expectations going into the tournament?
D: Yeah obviously our expectations are to win gold. I think that’s something we preach all the time is you know, being team first and win the championship so I think that’s something everyday when we wake up we’re practicing to do that.
Dach and Team Canada open the 2023 World Juniors on Boxing Day, Dec. 26 at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time against Czechia.
Canada is in Group A with Czechia, Sweden, Germany, and Austria.
This year’s championship is taking place in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick.
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CanadahockeyIIHF world junior hockeyKelownaKelowna RocketsOkanaganWHL