Eric O'Dell is getting the chance to extend his Christmas visit home.
The Ottawa-born-and-bred Sudbury Wolves centre is one of three additions to the national junior team's summer camp, which begins at University of Ottawa this weekend.
O'Dell, a second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks last month, hopes to parlay this opportunity into a roster spot for the world junior championship. The tournament will be held in Ottawa from Dec. 26-Jan. 5, with teams gathering in the nation's capital a number of days in advance.
"That'd be perfect ... it would be great," O'Dell said of spending more time among family and friends during Christmas than he would if he was with either the Wolves or Ducks.
As much as the venue is an added bonus, O'Dell would obviously be just as thrilled to play for the national team if the championship was being held on the other side of the globe. Left off the original invite list, he received the call last week when it was deemed that centre Zach Boychuk and defenceman Cody Goloubef would need more time to recover from injuries -- and learned that the Tampa Bay Lightning wanted first overall pick Steven Stamkos to participate in a camp for their prospects instead.
The two other replacements among the 44 players checking in today will be a Senators pick, forward Louie Caporusso, and defenceman Nick Ross.
As far as the locally connected players trying out for the team, Olympiques/Team Canada coach Benoit Groulx will also have Olympiques centre Paul Byron and two 67's, centre Logan Couture and defenceman Tyler Cuma.
"I didn't think I would be invited to the camp, I was just hoping for the best," said O'Dell, a star on the Canadian entry that won the under-18 world title in the spring. "When they called and said they wanted me to come out, I was pretty excited.
"It should be a pretty interesting, going up against older, really skilled guys. But I'm going to work my hardest and try my best to make the team."
In dividing up the players into two, 22-man rosters, O'Dell was placed on Team Red while Byron, Cuma and Couture were put on Team White. The Reds practise first, tomorrow at 5 p.m., with the Whites taking the ice at 6:30 p.m. Ice times are 10 a.m. (Red) and 11:15 a.m. (White) Sunday and the teams switch shifts Monday. Practice times Tuesday are still to be determined.
Of most interest, however, will be the three scheduled intra-squad games Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Each starts at 6 p.m.