Not all the hopefuls will be on the ice

Kenn Oliver
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World junior development camp begins today at Mile One

Calvin de Haan wants nothing more than to be on the ice at Mile One Centre in St. John’s this week with the rest of the Hockey Canada world junior team development camp invitees.

Canadian National junior hockey team hopefuls (from left) Tyler Toffoli, Calvin de Haa, Erik Gudbranson and Brandon Gormley leave St. John's International Airport Tuesday night.

The defenceman, who was taken 12th overall by the New York Islanders in the 2009 NHL entry draft, is in St. John’s, but won’t be taking part in any on-ice practices or intersquad games.

“I had shoulder surgery in January and it’s got a six-month recovery time. Six months was just a couple of days ago,” says de Haan, who was part of Canada’s silver-medal-winning team at the last world juniors, where he roomed with St. John’s native Luke Adam.

“The Islanders wanted to be cautious and don’t want me to hurt it.”

The six-foot, 182-pound member of the Ontario Hockey League’s Oshawa Generals isn’t sure what he’ll do over the next few days other than watching the action, but feels it was in his best interest to make the trip and show he wants to be part of the team again.

Regardless, de Haan doesn’t feel this week’s camp will dictate whether he is invited back to the roster for the next world junior tournament, which is being held in Buffalo, N.Y.

“Some guys were invited to the camp last year and didn’t get invited back to the main (selection) camp,” he said.

“It really has to do without how you play through the first half of the season. That’s the real tryout.”

After inking a three-year entry level contract with the Islanders in May, de Haan is hopeful of joining the NHL club, but if he is sent back to the Generals, it’s not the worst thing that could happen.

“I love playing there and then, hopefully, I can make Team Canada again and be a key component and maybe wear a letter and hopefully bring another gold medal back to Canada,” said de Haan, who is from Carp. Ont., just outside Ottawa.

While de Haan sits and watches, Erik Gudbranson — who is also from the Ottawa area — will be one of 16 other defencemen on the ice, looking to impress.

“I had shoulder surgery in January and it’s got a six-month recovery time. Six months was just a couple of days ago,” says Calvin de Haan

Gudbranson, taken third overall by the Florida Panthers in the June draft, was part of Hockey Canada’s under-18 program in 2009, making this is his first world junior camp.

“I think it’s the same kind of idea as the other camps, just amped up quite a bit,” says a six-foot-three, 195-pound Gudbranson, who has drawn comparisons to future Hall of Famer Chris Pronger.

“The pace and intensity will be a bit higher.”

Gudbranson played just 41 games with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs in 2009-10, limited by a bout of mononucleosis and a sprained MCL.

Gudbranson played just 41 games with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs in 2009-10, limited by a bout of mononucleosis and a sprained MCL.

“I haven’t skated for a while, in terms of playing contact hockey and playing at 100 per cent health,” he said.

“So I’m just going to play as simple as I possibly can and show the scouts here what I have and that the scouting report on me is all true.”

But the Orleans, Ont., native knows that after going as high as he did in June’s draft expectations are higher.

“There’s certainly going to be a lot more eyes on me than on other players, just because of where I went,” he says. “It makes you a little more confident, but it does add to the pressure.”

The camp opens at Mile One today, with the Red team’s first on-ice practice at 7:15 this evening, followed by the White team at 8:15. All practices are open to the public and free of charge.

The first intersquad game will take place Friday night, with another to follow Sunday. Both games start at 7 p.m.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Islanders, Ontario Hockey League, NHL Florida Panthers

Geographic location: Canada, New York, Buffalo Ottawa Orleans

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