As one of three alternate players, Eric Staal could only watch as Canada struggled to a seventh-place showing in the men’s hockey competition at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Fast forward four years and Staal has a great shot to earn a regular spot on Team Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics this February in Vancouver.
“Words can’t describe what that would feel like,” said the 24-year-old Carolina Hurricanes forward.
Eric’s younger brothers Marc, 22, and Jordan, 20, also took part in the national men’s team orientation camp this week in Calgary.
“It would be pretty amazing and something special,” the eldest Staal said of the chance for all three to make the team. “They’re very good players. They’ve got a chance just like anybody else here of cracking the lineup.”
With 16 defencemen at camp, Marc will be in tough to earn one of seven spots for blue-liners on the squad.
“I know I have to be doing something right to get on the list,” said the New York Rangers rearguard, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 220 pounds, just like Eric. “It’s pretty cool to be a part of it, but at the same time, I’m coming into camp confident and not just ready to be there, but trying to make an impression.”
After hoisting the Stanley Cup as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jordan also got the call from Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman to suit up at the orientation camp.
“I don’t think anyone in our family really realized how far we’ve taken this, and it’s really surreal, but at the same time we know we’re good enough players to be here and we’re good enough players to play on this team,” said Jordan, who’s the same height as his brothers, but outweighs them by 15 pounds.
Canada could very well have four Staals in contention to play for the men’s team soon as the youngest of the brothers, Jared, 19, is an up-and-coming prospect with the Phoenix Coyotes.