Griffin Reinhart received some words of wisdom before touching down at the Calgary International Airport on Monday.
The Edmonton Oil Kings shut-down defenceman, along with 35 other Canadian Hockey League players across the country, are in town for the world junior team selection camp --- a whirlwind of practices and games before the chosen few depart for the 2013 world junior championships in Ufa, Russia.
Having (unsuccessfully) gone through the process last year in Calgary, Reinhart's brother Max, a forward for the Abbotsford Heat, sent him a text message that said it all:
"Don't do what I did and get cut."
Good advice but that could be easier said than done this year considering the high calibre of players --- especially defenceman --- set to hit the ice this week, starting Tuesday morning.
Reinhart is among 12 blueliners and one of four drafted in the top-10 of the 2012 draft. The New York Islanders pick, who went fourth overall, is the highest of the bunch along with Moose Jaw's Morgan Rielly (fifth overall, Toronto), Red Deer defender Mathew Dumba (seventh overall, Minnesota) and Portland's Derrick Pouliot (eighth overall, Pittsburgh).
Only seven defenceman will wear a Canadian jersey --- and, likely, two of those spots will be filled by returning veterans Dougie Hamilton Niagara Ice Dogs and Scott Harrington of the London Knights.
There will be tough decisions made across the board as Canadian head coach Steve Spott, who runs the bench of the Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers, and Hockey Canada brass select 13 forwards and three goalies.
The current National Hockey League lockout is also adding to their decision-making process --- but, on the upside, Canada should benefit significantly if the labour impasse continues.
Edmonton Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was also set to touch down in Calgary Monday along with NHL-calibre forwards and returning world junior veterans Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers), Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets), Ryan Strome (New York Islanders), and Boone Jenner (Columbus Blue Jackets).
However, many --- including Nugent-Hopkins --- could be summoned on command should the NHL begin during the world junior championship that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.
Camp officially begins Tuesday at WinSport with a pair of morning practices (10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.) and an intra-squad game at 7 p.m., followed by games against the CIS all-stars on Wednesday (1:30 p.m.) and Thursday (noon).
The first round of cuts are set for Wednesday with the team (tentatively) being named on Thursday and one final practice Saturday (10:30 a.m.).
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