Having been there last year, Jordan Eberle was hoping to go again.
Now the invitation has been extended, the Edmonton Oilers forward is anxious to take on a bigger role with Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
On Wednesday both Eberle and Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk were named to the team.
“Realistically you should be playing hockey into May,” said Eberle. “It was definitely an early finish this year and I’m looking forward to the chance to go represent your country again.
“Last year was a great experience for me. Going into last year, I wasn’t expecting to play, I just thought I was going over for the experience. This time I’m actually going to get a role on the team, so I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
Eberle, 20, finished the year as the Oilers leading scorer with 18 goals and 43 points in 69 games this season.
He was also part of Canada’s entry last season, scoring a goal and adding three assists in four games.
Dubnyk, 24, amassed a 12-13-8 record with the Oilers this season with a 2.71 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He was a member of Canada’s entry into the event last season, although did not get an opportunity to play.
Eberle has also represented Canada at the World Junior championships, claming gold in 2009 and silver the following year.
“Last year it was different, half the time I was star stuck,” Eberle said. “Coming out of junior, I was playing with guys in the NHL. There was definitely an adjustment period.
“I think now, having been through a year in the NHL, I know what to expect and I’m going there to compete and win.”
This year’s tournament takes place April 29-May 15 in Slovakia. Canada will open the event against Belarus. They’ll also face Switzerland and France in their round-robin group.
A year ago, Canada was knocked out at the quarterfinal stage by Russia.
“It was exciting for me just to go last year, but it was difficult the way we finished,” Eberle said. “This year we want to redeem ourselves.”
Loose pucks: The Oilers have signed centre Tyler Pitlick to a three-year entry contract. The team’s second-round pick — 31st overall — in the 2010 NHL Entry draft has spent the past season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League.
In 56 games with the Tigers this season, Pitlick, 19, scored 27 goals an added 35 assists for 62 points. He’s currently injured as the Tigers battle the Red Deer Rebels in the second round of the WHL playoffs.