Bolland aims to be leader

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:45 AM ET

It's not enough for David Bolland to be invited to next week's training camp for the Canadian world junior hockey team.

It won't even be satisfactory to crack the roster and earn a regular shift in the tournament the London Knights star forward has dreamed of playing in since he was a wee lad.

After being the final cut from last year's gold-medal team, the 19-year-old Mimico native can feel comfortable only if he is one of head coach Brent Sutter's go-to guys.

Bolland wants to be a key player -- who logs critical ice time, scores big goals and makes a difference in where the team finishes in Vancouver over the holiday season.

"Seeing guys like (Mike) Richards, (Jeff) Carter and Patrice Bergeron last year at camp and being able to watch how they carried themselves and provided leadership on the ice and in the dressing room, it rubs off on you," Bolland said. "You can't help but learn from that. This time, I want to be the one who's out there in the final minute of the game. I want to put myself in a spot where I can be a leader on the team."

Two other Knights are on world junior rosters: Rob Schremp was named yesterday to the American team; Sergei Kostitsyn is playing for Belarus in the B pool.

Bolland drove yesterday to Toronto for the announcement of the Canadian team's training camp roster, which will compete for spots Dec. 11-16 at Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum. The OHL's leading scorer has a leg up on what to expect after last year's experience.

"I went through the camp last year. It was boot camp," Bolland said. "With Brent Sutter, you either work your ass off or you get the heck out of there. That's just the way he rolls. By the end of that camp, you just want to go home. That's how it makes you feel."

Bolland has spent the past summer and the first part of this hockey season preparing for it. He recently played three OHL games and two Canada/Russia Challenge tilts in a six-day span, a grind that will be similar to that of the world junior tournament.

"That should help," said Bolland, who managed to maintain a high level of play throughout the week. "The Russian games (where Canadian junior team assistant coach Craig Hartsburg gave Bolland major ice) was an eye-opener. I know how I have to work (to become one of Canada's most important players)."

Unlike last year, the opportunity is there to lead on the Canadian team. This year's squad will be a young one, but will still face the requisite pressures of representing the Maple Leaf.

"I still think it's gold or nothing for this team but you can't compete with that team they had last year," Bolland said. "This is going to be one of the younger teams. I don't think half of the guys are '86s (19 years old like Bolland)."

In what will be a surprise to many, Bolland's old pals -- Brampton forward Wojtek Wolski and Kitchener's Evan McGrath -- didn't make the training camp cut. The trio played with a lot of chemistry in the Canada/Russia Challenge.

"I guess I was a little bit surprised because they're my buddies but that's the way it goes," Bolland said. "There's no guarantees in this."

Bolland will face off against Schremp when Canada and the U.S. meet Dec. 31 at 7 p.m.

"We've been talking to each other about it in the dressing room for a while," Bolland said. "When Rob played for Mississauga (before being traded to London), we'd always be chirping to each other out there and I'm sure it'll be the same way."

Bolland will play for London tomorrow in Kitchener and Friday night against Saginaw and depart for Vancouver on Sunday morning. He will miss that night's home game against Guelph and up to six more if he makes the Canadian squad.

Kostitsyn will try to help his native Belarus win its way back into next year's top world junior tournament. He leaves Thursday for Minsk for the B championship. He is expected back in London Dec. 26.

CAMP ROSTER

GOALTENDERS

Devan Dubnyk, Kamloops (WHL); Julie Ellis, Shawinigan (QMJHL); Justin Pogge, Calgary (WHL); Carey Price, Tri-City (WHL)

DEFENCE

Cam Barker, Medicine Hat (WHL); Luc Bourdon, Val-d'Or (QMJHL); Michael Funk, Portland (WHL); Kristopher Letang, Val-d'Or (QMJHL); Ryan Parent, Guelph (OHL); Sasha Pokulok, Cornell (ECAC); Andy Rogers, Prince George (WHL); Kris Russell, Medicine Hat (WHL); Jeff Schultz, Calgary (WHL); Marc Staal, Sudbury (OHL); Logan Stephenson, Tri-City (WHL); Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Quebec (QMJHL)

FORWARD

Daniel Bertram, Boston College (HE); Michael Blunden, Erie (OHL); David Bolland, London (OHL); Dustin Boyd, Moose Jaw (WHL); Derick Brassard, Drummondville (QMJHL); Kyle Chipchura, Prince Albert (WHL); Kris Chucko, Minnesota (WCHA); Andrew Cogliano, Michigan (CCHA); Blake Comeau, Kelowna (WHL); Steve Downie, Peterborough (OHL); Angelo Esposito, Quebec (QMJHL); Guillaume Latendresse, Drummondville (QMJHL); Bryan Little, Barrie (OHL); Ryan O'Marra, Erie (OHL); Benoit Pouliot, Sudbury (OHL); Tom Pyatt, Saginaw (OHL); Devin Setoguchi, Saskatoon (WHL); Jonathan Toews, North Dakota (WCHA).


Videos

Photos