One week ago, 108 talented young hockey players arrived in Calgary, Alta., for Canada’s national under-17 development camp, the first camp of its kind ever held by Hockey Canada.
The objective: to earn a spot on one of three teams which will represent Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sarnia-Lambton, Ont., come November.
Over the course of the week the players, representing eight provinces, have gone through a rigorous schedule of practices, on- and off-ice fitness testing, classroom seminars, team bonding activities and intrasquad games.
Through it all they have been guided by one simple message:
It’s the Canadian Way.
As camp comes to an end, what does the Canadian Way mean to you?
“It’s just an honour to be here, to learn how to be professional and come ready to work every day.” -- Josh Anderson (Duncan, B.C./South Island, BCMML)
“The Canadian Way means being the best person you can be. Character is everything. Even when you’re down you try and stay positive, try and encourage your teammates, and I really feel that we’re starting to get the hang of it now.” -- Matt Barberis (Surrey, B.C./Valley West, BCMML)
“The Canadian Way is an honour – just to be part of this camp is extremely exciting. The Canadian Way is like a Bible to everyone here. They all live by it and I want to be part of that in the future.” -- Travis Barron (Belfountain, Ont./Toronto Jr. Canadiens, GTHL)
“The Canadian Way to me is a code of conduct. It’s how you conduct yourself around the rink with absolute professionalism and try to be consistent on a daily basis.” -- Jake Bean (Calgary, Alta./Edge School, CSSHL)
“The Canadian Way means a lot because it’s the way Canadians play the game and the way we are a hockey nation together. The fan support from the whole country backing up a group of players is fantastic.” -- Dawson Davidson (Moosomin, Sask./Moose Jaw, SMAAAHL)
“It’s a model of how we should play our game. To be successful and play for Team Canada we need to do what the coaches tell us to do. In order to have success at the international tournaments, the Canadian Way is how we’re going to do it.” -- Cale Fleury (Carlyle, Sask./Notre Dame, SMAAAHL)
“It’s the character of everyone. The professionalism is really built in here and they put it on you and teach you how to act.” -- Jonah Gadjovich (Whitby, Ont./Whitby, OMHA)
“Get better every day, keep learning every day, and make sure you’re better the next day than you were the previous day.” -- Luke Green (Bedford, N.S./Newbridge Academy, NSMMHL)
“It’s all about the attitude, I think. Every player here wants to make the team but we just have to be respectful and work hard at every practice, every game.” -- Thomas Grégoire (Sherbrooke, Que./Magog, LHMAAAQ)
“It means a lot of things, but I think the most important is respect. We have to respect the guys, we have to respect the rules, and we have to respect ourselves to be good on and off the ice.” -- Samuel Harvey (Alma, Que./Jonquière, LHMAAAQ)
“The Canadian Way is putting 100 per cent effort into everything you do and doing everything you can to be the best person you can be.” -- Tyler Hylland (Mercier, Que./Châteauguay, LHMAAAQ)
“The Canadian Way is just effort. Second effort isn’t enough. You’ve got to compete and be willing to take one for the team.” -- Ralph Jarratt (Kelowna, B.C./Pursuit of Excellence, CSSHL)
“To me it means something you have to work hard for. You have to buy into it. If you give it all you have and have confidence to play well, then The Canadian Way is good for you.” -- Alexander Katerinakis (Laval, Que./Laval-Montréal, LHMAAQ)
“You can just tell its gritty, hard-nosed hockey. You can’t give up, all-out battles, and speed – definitely speed.” -- Jordan Maher (Gander, N.L./Central, NLMMHL)
“The universal thing is everyone coming together here. Everyone joins as a group and we all put the work in, and going out on the ice it’s that relentlessness and integrity to do everything you can out there.” -- Beck Malenstyn (Delta, B.C./Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL)
“I think the overall definition is being a good guy on and off the ice, being competitive and caring about everyone, and just coming together as a group.” -- Reilly Pickard (Halifax, N.S./Halifax, NSMMHL)
“I think it just means being prepared for every ice time and earning your opportunity. Opportunities aren’t given here at Hockey Canada. I think every guy is working their hardest to try and earn a spot on Team Canada and play with a maple leaf on the front of their jersey.” -- David Quenneville (Edmonton, Alta./Edmonton SSAC, AMHL)
“I think it means buying into a system, pushing yourself, always trying to get better and always execute at your fullest potential.” -- Liam Schioler (West St. Paul, Man./Shattuck-St. Mary’s, USHS)
“I’ve learned just how hard you have to work since I’ve been here. Once you come here there are so many great players and you might not be doing the thing that you do back home, but you’re doing it all for your country.” -- Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, Alta./Sherwood Park, AMHL)