An Airdrie hockey player who plays for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos recently represented his country and hometown at the international level, lacing his skates for Team Canada at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship in Germany last month.
Josh Davies, 18, has been playing for the Broncos for the last two seasons in the highest-level league for U21 hockey players in western Canada. Prior to that, he was a member of the U18 AAA Airdrie CFR Chemicals Bisons, the Edge Mountaineers prep team, and the U15 AAA Airdrie Xtreme.
According to Davies, the news came as quite a surprise that he had been selected to play for Team Canada in the international championship, which was hosted from April 21 to May 1 in the German city of Landshut, and town of Kaufbeuren, Swabia.
“I was pretty ecstatic about it,” Davies said, adding he was initially eliminated from playoffs that were meant to determine the skaters who would go on to represent Canada in the championship.
“I found out Sunday morning that I was hopping on a flight Monday morning at 5 a.m. to Germany to play for Canada,” he said. “I called my parents after and it was a pretty emotional day, but a pretty exciting day.”
The professional hockey hopeful said he was proud to be chosen to represent both his country and his hometown in the competition.
“It’s definitely an honour to be selected from Airdrie and to be one of two guys from the Calgary area,” he said. “Airdrie’s a great little town and being able to represent everyone here is pretty cool.”
During the competition, Team Canada competed in the preliminary rounds on April 23 against Team U.S.A. and was defeated 8-3.
The following game, the team took to the ice again. Coming up against their host country Team Germany, the Canadians ultimately won the game 8-3.
In the third game of the preliminary rounds on April 26, the team played against Czechia, facing defeat with a final score of 6-5. Making it into the quarterfinals, the Canadians played against Finland, losing 6-5 in overtime, which eliminated them from the championship prior to reaching the semifinals.
Despite not reaching the podium, Davies said he was proud to play alongside such skilled teammates on international ice, adding the opportunity was a great learning experience to learn from some of Hockey Canada’s top coaches.
“Playing alongside all the best players within Canada and being at that international stage is pretty surreal,” he said. “You don’t realize it until you get there, and it shows how much hard work we put into my hockey to get me there.
“It was a pleasure being there. It was an honour wearing that [maple leaf] crest.”
Throughout the championship, Davies had one assist in his three games, mostly featuring on the team’s fourth line.
“I think putting on that crest at the end of the day, it’s the Maple Leaf – very limited players get to wear that crest,” he said. “Just putting on that crest and representing my country was the highlight.
“Just like every other kid out there, you always want to represent your country and to get the chance to do that is a great honour.”
Davies said he is NHL draft eligible this year and is looking forward to what the future will hold, adding he is working towards getting “bigger, faster, stronger,” and developing his “hockey IQ” on the ice.
“I’m just trying to get better every day, whether it’s the little things or the big things and just working on my game,” he said. “[The IIHF U18 world championship] is a great stepping-stone for myself and for my family and it was the next step that I needed to get to, and I got there. I just got to keep moving forward.”
The hockey player is ranked highly – 69th – among NHL Central Scouting’s final list prior to the July 7 NHL Entry Draft.
“It's pretty cool having NHL teams reach out to you and contact you,” Davies said. “Just looking at the mock drafts and all the rankings that come out, I try not to let that affect me and try not to let that get to my head. The work has just started.”