Team Canada hopefuls ready to play in hometowns
Wes Gilbertson, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Ty Rattie probably could have arranged for his own transportation from the airport to the hotel.
But even with his parents 10 minutes away in Airdrie, he insisted on taking the team bus.
No one wants to get picked up by mommy and daddy.
“No, they’re not at the airport,” Rattie said with a laugh. “That would be a little embarrassing.
“But they’ll be there front row for every game and practice.
“They’re real excited for me.”
Rattie is one of eight hopefuls with hometown ties to the two host cities for the 2012 world junior championships.
“That just adds to the excitement, to get a chance to make the team in front of friends and family,” the Portland Winterhawks sniper said.
“We’d wake up on Boxing Day and turn the Team Canada game on. It’s a Rattie house tradition.”
They might not have come to the airport, but Rattie’s parents are excited to see their son play.
“My dad makes me call him after every game,” the St. Louis Blues prospect said.
“My mom doesn’t care if I play house league or if I’m at world juniors. She’s just happy I’m having fun.
“So they’re the perfect parents for me.”
Rattie has already made a strong case for nailing down a spot on the forward ranks.
He leads the WHL with 32 goals in as many games and sits second with 59 points.
“I’ve had a real good season so far,” Rattie said. “I’m playing with a lot of good players, and my team is playing real well. I owe a lot of success to my teammates.
“The biggest thing for me is confidence. This is my 19-year-old year, I have a lot of confidence. I know I belong, and I’ve been playing well.
“Hopefully, I can keep that up.”
Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Mark Pysyk, from nearby Sherwood Park, will be able to give his teammates a tour of Rexall Place, where Team Canada will play all of its preliminary round games.
“If I do make the team, there will be a comfort level — playing at home and where I play all my home games during the season,” Pysyk said.
“I won’t have to take any time to get used to the building.
“It would be pretty cool playing anywhere in the world. But having it in Calgary and Edmonton, it’s even better.”
The Buffalo Sabres first-rounder is looking for any advantage after failing to crack last year’s Canadian roster.
“With no returning defencemen, there’s a good opportunity for everyone coming into camp,” he said. “Hopefully, I can crack one of the seven spots.”
Medicine Hat Tigers goalie Tyler Bunz is somewhat of a two-time home-towner.
He’s from St. Albert and is an Edmonton Oilers draft pick.
“Every kid dreams about putting on a Team Canada jersey,” Bunz said. “For me to have that opportunity to do it in my hometown in front of friends and family, I’d be lying if I said I never thought about it and that it doesn’t make me nervous or excited.
Spokane Chiefs d-man Brenden Kichton (Spruce Grove), Red Deer Rebels defenders Alex Petrovic (Edmonton) and Matt Dumba (Calgary), Winterhawks blueliner Joe Morrow (Sherwood Park) and Prince Albert Raiders forward Mark McNeill (Edmonton) are the other local players hoping to crack Team Canada.