TORONTO - The dream of playing in the 2011 world junior hockey championship is over for nine Canadian players.
Head coach Dave Cameron and his staff announced their first cuts early Tuesday morning.
Forwards Brad Ross (Portland Winterhawks, Western Hockey League), Brendan Gallagher (Vancouver Giants, WHL), Joey Hishon (Owen Sound Attack, Ontario Hockey League), Garrett Wilson (Owen Sound), Linden Vey (Medicine Hat Tigers, WHL), Ryan Howse (Chilliwack Bruins, WHL) and Reilly Smith (Miami University) were released.
Brayden McNabb (Kootenay Ice, WHL) and Jesse Blacker (Owen Sound) were the two defencemen cut.
“I thought I came here and did everything I could,” said Gallagher, who was drafted by the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens 147th overall in last summer's entry draft.
“So I've got to come back next year and do whatever I can. Obviously right now it just kind of sucks.”
The remaining players will suit up for a game against the Canadian Interuniversity Sport all-stars on Tuesday night. The final 22-man roster will be unveiled on Wednesday, which means nine more players must be cut.
“It's definitely not a very good feeling,” said Hishon. “I mean this is definitely not where I want to be right now and I think it's probably the first time I've ever been cut from a team, but it's something that.
“It's pretty tough to argue with Hockey Canada's decision with their track record and I'll be there biggest fan over Christmas.”
Here's what some of the other players had to say:“A lot of emotions, but there are a lot of positives I can take from this. I mean I'm still young, I can still make it next year and, you know, they're going to have a good team this year so all the best to them.” Brad Ross “It's kind of tough, a wake-up call this early in the morning. I don't know, I thought I gave it everything I got and it's just to bad I didn't get to continue here with Team Canada.” Garrett Wilson “A lot of guys come here and don't expect to get cut and you haven't been cut in the past and at the same time this is part of hockey and you got to realize that and you just got to keep moving forward. There are a lot of good hockey players like I said before and you can't let this phase you.” Linden Vey “Going back to my club team today kind of sucks and it's a tough feeling, a tough pill to swallow, but I know they're going to pick a good team and be a good team and judging from the players they got here they got a good shot at winning gold this year. It was good to be a part of it for sure.” Ryan Howse “It's a little tough, but I'll try to use this as a learning experience. There are a lot of great hockey players here so it's tough to hang your head, but . . . just will try to bounce back and make sure it doesn't affect my play for the rest of the year. It was definitely a transition coming from college hockey.” Reilly Smith “It's obviously not the nicest wake-up (call) and it's pretty hard to take right now, because I wanted to be on the team. It's unfortunate. I just got to take it as a positive and go back to junior and do my best and help out the Ice as best I can." Brayden McNabb “I feel like I played well and maybe it just wasn't what the coaches wanted or the role they wanted me to play or whatever the thing may be. I just got to take the experience . . . and take it back to my team and try and win some games in the OHL.” Jesse Blacker