Perry cracks junior squad

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

The Corey curse is over. London Knights forward Corey Perry will wear Canada's colours at the world junior hockey championship in Grand Forks, N.D., later this month.

Perry, the OHL's leading scorer and a controversial late cut at last year's training camp in Kitchener, managed to crack the squad this time, along with Knights defenceman Danny Syvret and national junior team veteran Jeff Carter, a London native who plays for the Soo Greyhounds.

"It's one of the happiest days of my life -- a dream come true," said Perry, 19. "I was kind of disappointed last year. It was a coach's decision and I understood that.

Knights forward David Bolland was one of nine players cuts yesterday by head coach Brent Sutter.

Knights forward Robbie Schremp and Sarnia Sting star Dan Fritsche round out the five players participating at this year's world juniors with Southwestern Ontario links. The two will suit up for the defending champion U.S. team.

Bolland, 18, a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick, returned to London yesterday and will try to help extend the Knights' 31-game unbeaten streak tonight against the Sudbury Wolves.

"I thought I had a great camp," he said. "They told me it was between me and one other guy and that it was hard to cut me. It was a great learning experience but it's still disappointing.

Perry, from Peterborough, was considered to be on the bubble again early in camp.

But leading the OHL in scoring doesn't appear to mean much to the Canadian scouts. The national braintrust cut Perry last year and denied former Ottawa 67's forward Corey Locke twice. Locke is a two-time OHL points king.

"I was disappointed with my first game in camp," Perry said. "Then I thought I played better as we went on and (with a two-goal and three-point night on Wednesday), I thought I left my mark.

"I left it all out there on the rink and I was happy with it."

Back at the John Labatt Centre, the Knights said they would be watching the world junior tournament with extra interest.

"We think it's great for Corey and Danny. They deserve it," said Knights head coach Dale Hunter.

"And David will be back there next year, no question."

Knights goalie Gerald Coleman, an American, said he is expected to cheer for the U.S. but he's going to root for all his participating teammates.

"I'm happiest for Robbie and Corey. They didn't get to go last year and now they're getting that opportunity," Coleman said.

"And what can you say about Danny? He took over Dennis Wideman's job and minutes, which wasn't easy, but we knew he could do it and he's been our most improved player this year."

Syvret was the only player undrafted by an NHL team invited to the Canadian training camp in Winnipeg.

"We knew what he could do and it was only a matter of time before the Canadian team saw what he could do," said Knights forward Dylan Hunter.

The Knights are happy to get Bolland back but admit it will still be tough to play without Perry, Syvret and Schremp.

"Maybe we have to change the way we approach games, play a little more defensive and use more systems," said Dylan Hunter.

"We're all going to have to chip in and keep it rolling."


Photos