Hockey Canada has invited the last Niagara IceDog picked in the first round of the draft of the National Hockey League to the national junior team selection camp that will commence in Alberta later this month.
Forward Phil Tomasino, who after two-plus seasons in Niagara wrapped up 2019-20 with the Oshawa Generals, is among 18 Ontario Hockey League players chosen to participate in the Nov. 16-Dec. camp. In Red Deer, 13.
Until scoring 18 goals and earning 25 assists for 43 points in 26 games in the general lineup, the 6-foot, 180-pound right-hand shooter from Mississauga had 22 goals, 35 assists in 36 games for the IceDogs.
In a blockbuster trade deadline deal for nine draft picks over five years, Tomasino, Niagara’s first selection in the 2017 OHL draft with the fifth overall pick, went to Oshawa. The IceDogs replenished their depleted cupboard of prospects with a second-round pick in 2021, three second-round selections in 2023 and a second, third and fourth-round selection in 2024, in addition to the second and fourth-round selections in this year’s draft.
After being selected by the team in the first round with the 24th pick in that summer’s NHL draft, he signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Nashville Predators in October 2019.
Forty-six players in total, including 11 forwards, five defensemen and two OHL goaltenders, will audition for roster spots on the team representing Canada at the Dec. 25-Jan. 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships of the International Ice Hockey Federation. 5 from Edmonton.
The National Team Auditions will be held at Westerner Park Centrium, home of the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels. Hockey Canada, the national governing camp of the sport, said improved steps would be pursued around monitoring and team procedures to ensure health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salmond (Hockey Canada’s senior vice president of national teams) was helped by Ben Shutron (Hockey Canada’s national team manager), and Alan Millar (the under-20 chief of the Program of Excellence management committee), to lead the roster selection. Additional feedback was given by Ottawa 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny, assistant coaches Michael Dyck, Vancouver Giants; Mitch Love, Saskatoon Blades; and coaches and general managers under the umbrella of the Canadian Hockey League in the three leagues: Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League, OHL.
A camp taking place in a ‘cohort bubble’ will include six exhibition games against a U Sports all-stars team before the national team leaves Red Deer and joins the Edmonton bubble, in addition to training and three intrasquad games. To the public and the media, the camp will be closed.
Hockey Canada’s executive officer said protecting the health and safety during the China virus pandemic is of paramount importance.
In order to pick the players who will wear the Maple Leaf in Edmonton in December, we expect a highly competitive selection camp with a range of tough decisions to be made.