Tavares junior team's most junior hopeful

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

John Tavares wouldn't be the youngest player to suit up for Canada at the world junior hockey tournament but if he makes the team, he'll certainly join a select group of elites.

Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros, Jay Bouwmeester, Jason Spezza and Sidney Crosby are the only 16-year-olds to have worn the Red and White during the annual event.

And now Tavares, the next up-and-coming phenom, has the opportunity to do the same.

"It would be a great honour to do that but I'm just trying to make the team," said the Oshawa Generals forward. "Hopefully, I can make it this year and get that experience like those guys."

Bouwmeester would still have the edge over Tavares by a week as the youngest player but as the Oakville, Ont., native said, he still has to make the team.

Tavares joins 38 players -- 22 forwards -- in the final evaluation camp this week in Calgary to decide which 22 players will represent Canada at the tournament in Sweden starting Dec. 26.

Tavares, who was recently named the OHL's player of the week, knows with six forward positions already locked up by veterans and a wealth of talent in camp, cracking the lineup will be tough.

"I just (have) to work hard and do what I can out there and hopefully it's good enough to make the team," he said.

So far this season, the 6-ft. 183-lb. centre is putting together a solid campaign on a so-so team.

"It's going pretty well so far and the team's doing better," said Tavares, who's scored 23 goals and 17 assists for 40 points.

"We've got back to .500 and, personally I'm doing pretty well, so we've just got to keep it up."

Right now, though, Tavares has turned his attention from the Generals and is focused on the national program.

With no experience at these types of intense camps, Tavares was thankful for the plane trip to Calgary yesterday, as it provided some education from veterans.

"You get an idea of what's happened in the past and what is going on," Tavares said.

"You can kind of compare yourself and get ready mentally for the upcoming week.

"We tried to get to know each other and some of the guys do know each other but we mostly just talked about our seasons and how things were going.

"It was good to meet some of the guys."

Great athleticism apparently runs in the Tavares family.

His uncle John is the all-time leading point-getter in National Lacrosse League history.

"He comes to my games and he came a couple weeks ago," said Tavares, who's said to have quite the quick stick as well.

"It's always good to see him and he's a positive voice. He's been there supporting for a long time."

---

JOHN TAVARES

POSITION-- Forward

SHOOTS -- Left

D.O.B. -- 09/20/90

HOMETOWN -- Oshawa, Ont.

HEIGHT -- 6-ft.

WEIGHT -- 196-lb.

NHL RIGHTS -- Eligible for 2009 draft.


Videos

Photos