Nova Scotian to suit up for Team Canada at World Juniors
Forward Drake Batherson overcame broken finger just in time to make the national junior team
A Cape Breton Screaming Eagle whose family lives in New Minas, N.S., will be the only Atlantic Canadian suiting up for Team Canada at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship.
Drake Batherson was the only Atlantic Canadian invited to Team Canada's training camp.
On Friday evening, he was in St. Catharines, Ont., at the Team Canada selection camp when the players were sent to their hotel rooms at around 6 p.m. If the phone rang, it meant they were being cut.
"You didn't really want your phone to ring in your room and lucky enough, mine didn't ring," said Batherson.
At 7:30 p.m., he received an email saying he'd made the team.
"It was a pretty nerve-wracking hour and a half there, just sitting in your hotel room and not knowing what to expect," said Batherson.
The 19-year-old was dealt a setback earlier this season when he broke a finger after being slashed by an opponent. As a result, he missed a number of games.
Prior to the injury, he was often the leading scorer in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 24 games this season, he's amassed 17 goals and 39 points.
Batherson said watching the World Juniors was a family tradition growing up.
"I watched it ever since I can remember. It's something I look forward to watching every year and now to be a part of it, it's pretty crazy," he said.
Boxing Day start
This year's tournament is being held in Buffalo, N.Y., from Dec. 26 until Jan. 5.
Team Canada will play its first game at the world junior tournament on Boxing Day against Finland. On Dec. 29, they will play the defending champion U.S. team in an outdoor game.
Hockey runs in the family
Batherson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NHL Draft by the Ottawa Senators.
His family lives in New Minas, but he honed his hockey skills at a young age in Germany where his father, North Sydney native Norm Batherson, played professionally for several seasons.
Mae, Batherson's younger sister, is also a standout hockey player. She'll be playing at Syracuse University next season.