It’s tradition for Frank Corrado to watch the World Junior Hockey Championship. Naturally, over the years an abundance of memories have piled up.
But one in particular stands out: Canada’s 2004-05 team that, thanks to an National Hockey League lockout, romped its way to a gold medal and featured a multitude of soon-to-be stars like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Shea Weber, and some guy named Sidney Crosby, who was still draft eligible.
“That team they had was just phenomenal and they dominated,” said Corrado, the Vancouver Canucks fifth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft who on Monday was one of 37 players invited to Canada’s selection camp for the 2013 world junior championship.
“The thing that stood out for me was how physical they were. They bullied the other teams around the whole tournament.
“If you look at that, I’m not saying I have to throw eight open ice hits a game, but if I can play gritty and have some sandpaper as well as having the puck-moving skills and a little bit of an offensive flare, that’d be me doing my job and competing as best I can for a spot.”
Corrado will leave the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League and fly to Calgary on Dec. 10. Camp begins the next day, and concludes the Dec. 13. It’s believed his strong performance in his only appearance for Team OHL against Russia in the Subway Super Series earned him a ticket to the camp.
He scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory for Team OHL on Nov. 12, and was a plus-two in that game.
He was one of 12 defenceman named to the camp’s roster, which includes blue line returnees Dougie Hamilton and Scott Harrington, as well as top prospects Griffin Reinhart and Morgan Rielly of West Vancouver.
Corrado, who has 21 points in 30 games this season with the Sudbury Wolves and six games experience last season with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves, doesn’t buy the underdog theory heading into camp.
“Once you get to camp, anything can happen. You can never determine whose a frontrunner or a dark horse,” he said.
For the Canucks, it’s a boon for the franchise at a time when two months of the NHL schedule has been scrapped by the ongoing lockout.
The Canucks signed Corrado to an entry-level contract at his first training camp with the NHL club last year.
“That is something which is exceptionally rare for any NHL team to do with a player who was taken in the latter rounds of the draft,” said Laurence Gilman, the Canucks VP of hockey operations and assistant GM.
“In his case, we spotted very quickly how skilled he was and how complete his game was for such a young player. It’s obviously a testament to him and how hard he’s worked to have this opportunity.
“We were very hopeful that this would happen because we think he deserves it. He’s played that well.”