Bolland sees series as step to worlds

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:52 PM ET

For the second straight year, London Knights forward David Bolland will get a chance to suit up against a Russian hockey team.

The 19-year-old Toronto native hopes taking part in the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge again next month ultimately leads to another international assignment -- and more big collisions with the Russians -- in Vancouver with the Canadian world junior team during the Christmas holidays.

"It's a good chance to show (Hockey Canada scouts) how you can play against a team like that," the OHL's leading scorer said. "I enjoyed it last year and I'm looking forward to it again."

Bolland, one of the final players cut by the Canadian junior squad that went on to win the gold medal in Grand Forks, N.D., last season, is the lone Knight selected to play in the OHL's two-game portion of the challenge Nov. 24 in Kitchener and Nov. 28 in Peterborough.

The OHL's roster was picked by Sarnia general manager Alan Millar, Jeff Twohey of Peterborough and Hockey Canada head scout Blair Mackasey. The team includes Strathroy's Patrick McNeill, who plays defence for Saginaw, and Kingston Frontenac Cory Emmerton, a St. Thomas native.

"It would be nice to have a couple of teammates there, but I understand what the game's for, to see how the guys who might be part of the world junior team make out against them," Bolland said. "Last year, I played against Russia with Corey Perry and Dylan Hunter, but I know a lot of the guys on the team already so it's going to be good."

The Russian team's tour begins with games in Drummondville (Nov. 21) and Moncton (Nov. 23) against a group of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League stars and ends with games in Saskatoon (Nov. 31) and Regina (Dec. 1) versus the Western Hockey League selects.

All six games are being broadcast nationally on Rogers Sportsnet and there will be a lot of scouts, especially Hockey Canada's top dogs, watching with interest.

"They don't tell you when they're showing up, so if you have an off-night, it's a strike against you," Bolland said. "You have to make sure you work hard and produce every game."

That particular week in late November will be a busy one for Bolland, who will lace up for a regular-season game in Saginaw on the Wednesday, face the Russians on the Thursday in Kitchener, return to London on Friday to play Brampton, head to Sarnia on Saturday for a tilt with the Sting and travel back to Peterborough with the OHLers on Monday.

"It's a lot of hockey and I'll probably lose a couple of pounds," Bolland said with a grin. "It's a challenge."


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