Della Rovere greets junior invite with excitement 0
Life continues to play out like an episode of Lassie for these Barrie Colts: warm, fuzzy and pleasing to viewers everywhere.
Yesterday, the Ontario Hockey League outfit rose to No. 3 in the Canadian Hockey League rankings, behind Saint John and top-ranked Windsor.
And yesterday, Colts captain Stefan Della Rovere was invited to Team Canada's world junior selection camp, Hockey Canada's final selection process leading up to the annual world tournament that opens Boxing Day.
Oh, right. There's also that franchise-record 14-game win streak the Colts will put on the line when they open another three-in-three week beginning at home to the Niagara IceDogs tonight.
Indeed, these are Happy Days.
Just don't tell Marty Williamson that.
"We're a forward-thinking
team," Barrie's head coach said as practice wound down yesterday. "We can't think about anything in the past. Whether we've won or lost, we're moving on to (tonight)."
Della Rovere will take a similar philosophy into Regina, Sask., where Team Canada will be built starting nine days from now.
"You can't take things for granted, obviously," said the 19-year-old Washington Capitals pick, who helped Team Canada to a fifth-straight gold medal with his bulldozer style of play last year. "It's a great honour, but at the same time, I still have to earn a spot."
Still, the buzz-saw left winger was thrilled with yesterday's roster announcement. He can only imagine that Len and Angie Della Rovere were, too.
"I've yet to call my parents," Della Rovere said from the Barrie Molson Centre yesterday afternoon. "They probably checked. My dad's been asking. He probably knows by now, but still no phone call (from them), either."
Former Colts forward Josh Brittain skated at the preliminary summer camp, but the 19-year-old -- who now wears a Plymouth jersey -- was kept off the list of 36 invitees who will battle for 22 roster spots.
Whalers goalie Matt Hackett got the nod ahead of former Colts keeper and Barrie native Michael Hutchinson as the lone OHL puckstopper set to attend camp, while smooth-skating Colts defender T. J. Brodie was also struck from the list.
"I thought Brodie should have been in that group," Williamson said.
"It just shows how great Canada is (talent-wise)," added Della Rovere, noting London toughguy Zac Rinaldo -- who might have given the Barrie forward a run for his money at camp -- was also kept off the list of invitees.
Della Rovere is among seven returning players. His Maple-area buddy, Alex Pietrangelo, is also invited back, along with the likes of Ryan Ellis and Cody Hodgson.
The St. Louis Blues haven't returned Pietrangelo -- who has played nine games for the NHL team -- to the IceDogs. If the defenceman gets sent down, it would likely be after Christmas, and he'd surely be trade bait the contending Colts would go fishing for.
Della Rovere has 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points through 24 games this season.
His teammate, Alexander Burmistrov, will suit up for Team Russia at the event, while Colts defenceman Simon Gronvaldt will dress for Denmark.
Injured Colts forward Kyle Clifford will be a game-time decision, while Peter Di Salvo gets the nod in net tonight.
Following tonight's 7:30 p. m. start, the Colts are in Erie, Pa., for a Friday night tilt and close out the week on the road against Niagara.