A couple of former Fort Saskatchewan Rangers will be looking to crack Team Canada's 2023 world junior squad over the next few days.
Colton Dach and Olen Zellweger both received invitations to the camp and are hoping they can earn spots on the final roster.
Zellweger, who currently plays for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL, is a veteran of the world junior tournament, having won gold with Canada last summer.
"There are expectations, and the team has a lot of goals in mind for the tournament," said Zellweger. "What happened last tournament doesn't carry over into this one."
As a highly touted NHL prospect for the Anaheim Ducks, Zellweger also sees this as a great opportunity to show he has what it takes to play at a higher level.
"Every opportunity you get to play at the international level is huge for showcasing your talents and abilities," said Zellweger. "You need to use those opportunities the right way so you can move up to the next level."
The defender has spent most of his life in Fort Saskatchewan cutting his teeth in the city's minor hockey program, including one season with the U15 AAA Rangers.
He looks back on those days fondly.
"[Fort Saskatchewan] is a great place to play hockey, great rink, great community, and I really enjoyed living there," said Zellweger.
Dach, on the other hand, is hoping to make his world juniors debut. His brother, Kirby Dach, was named captain of the Canadian squad in the 2021 tournament but didn't play a game due to an injury.
The final roster is expected to be announced on Monday (Dec. 12).
The 2023 world juniors are in Halifax and Moncton this year. Canada will open up their tournament against Czechia on Boxing Day (Dec. 26).