Volume 92, Issue 54
Wednesday, December 9, 1998
and to all a goodnight
Trading in the purple and white
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
BY JOHN DINNER
Playing for your country has long been considered the epitome of success.
On Dec. 19-22, four Mustang hockey players will have the opportunity to be selected to trade in their purple and white jerseys for the red and white of Canada and compete in the World Student Games in Poprad-Tatry, Slovakia from Jan. 21-30.
Veteran net minder CJ Denomme, captain Jeff Petrie, left-winger Damon Hardy and rookie defenceman Jim Moss are four of the 26 players invited to attend training camp where 22 will be selected to represent Canada.
The games, which are held every two years, asked Canada West to send their university hockey players in 1996 and this year it is Ontario's turn. Guelph's Marlin Muyleart was chosen to be head coach, with Western's Barry Martinelli and York University's Graham Wise acting as his assistants.
"As a coaching staff we were looking to put together the best possible team, not necessarily the best players," Muyleart said. "We were looking for minimum skating standards [because of the international ice surface], but what was key for us was versatility. We want the guys to be able to play a number of roles in different situations."
According to Muyleart, this made Western's representatives very coveted as all four are leaders both on and off the ice and know what it takes to win at all levels of competition.
"Denomme was probably the toughest call because of his injury this year. I know what he's capable of and seeing him back at 100 per cent, I knew we had to take him," he said. "Petrie played himself into these tryouts with his outstanding play. Moss is the consummate leader and will do whatever it takes for his team to win and you can never have too many of those guys. Hardy is a veteran leader with tremendous offensive skills and we will need guys that can put the puck into the net."
The 26 players will vie for 22 roster spots, all of which dress under international rules. This will be key for the Canadians, as they will play seven games in 10 days, thus all 22 players should expect ice time.
"Our depth will be extremely important because of the time frame of the tournament," Martinelli said. "We need guys with versatility to play a variety of roles because once we get over there we can't be second guessing ourselves, wishing we had brought someone else."
For the Mustang players, the honour of even being thought about for Team Canada is pretty overwhelming.
"It's almost surreal to think about putting on that jersey," Hardy commented. "Everyone has seen the maple leaf at the Olympics, World Juniors and the rest and to think about wearing that jersey for your country is pretty humbling. Enormous amounts of pride go along with wearing the jersey and playing hockey for Canada."
Purple and proud to red and proud. For these four Mustangs, it's a chance of a lifetime which they don't want to miss.
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Copyright © The Gazette 1998