The holiday season just got a little brighter for Dylan Holloway.
One year after narrowly missing the cut, the 19-year-old Bragg Creek hockey player skated his way onto one of the most stacked Team Canada rosters in recent memory for the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Holloway, who was selected 14th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2020 NHL Draft, told media. “Growing up, World Juniors at Christmastime was the biggest deal ever, so being able to play in that is an absolute dream come true.”
Holloway, a sophomore forward at the University of Wisconsin Badgers, has previously donned the maple leaf at the World Junior A Challenge, World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, the IIHF U18 World Hockey Championships and at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. However, last year, he was one of Team Canada's last cuts for the World Junior team.
The 2021 World Juniors are taking place in a bubble set-up in Edmonton, with the competition getting underway on Christmas Day and wrapping up in early January 2021.
Making the team was a gruelling tryout process, with 46 players invited to an evaluation camp, which was held in Red Deer for 26 days. Prospective players and team staff were forced to quarantine for 14 days, after two players tested positive for COVID-19.
“This camp has been unconventional from the outset with the number of players invited and the length of camp, along with the schedule adjustment due to our two-week shutdown, but we feel we have selected a group that will give us the best chance to defend our gold medal on home ice,” said Alan Millar, Hockey Canada’s U20 lead for the program of excellence management group, in a release. “It is never easy making decisions to trim down a roster, especially when every player handled adversity, faced challenges head-on and remained committed to the process through our off-ice workouts and Zoom sessions.
“We have a lot of people to thank, including the people of Red Deer, the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) and Alberta Health Services, who worked with us to always ensure the health of safety of our athletes, staff and the community at large, and we look forward to representing Canada in Edmonton.”
The Canadian roster features 20 players who were selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, including two skaters with NHL experience in Kirby Dach and Thomas Harley, along with three others who were part of the league’s playoff bubble last season.
Team Canada boasts six returning players from last year’s gold medal-winning squad, along with seven players who were cuts from the 2020 team, including Holloway.
Team Canada, 18-time winners of the competition and title-holders in two of the past three years, opens their 2021 World Junior Championship slate in a Boxing Day battle with Germany. Other teams in Canada's pool include Finland, Slovakia and Switzerland. The tournament and pre-tournament action, which began Dec. 20, will be aired on TSN and the TSN Radio networks.
For more information go to 2021.worldjuniors.hockey