Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/3/13
It appears nothing short of a plane hijacking is going to keep Bo Horvat off Canada’s team at this year’s world junior tournament. Horvat — along with fellow Canucks’ first-round draft pick from last June, Hunter Shinkaruk — was invited to Hockey Canada’s final selection camp on Monday. Horvat looks to have an inside track, while Shinkaruk has to show he’s recovered from hip and shoulder injuries. Only 25 players were on the list, so that means two forwards and one defenceman must be cut from roster by Dec. 25 to get down to the required numbers for this year’s tournament in Malmo, Sweden. The camp is Dec. 12-15 in Etobicoke, Ont. If both make the final roster, it’ll be the first time the Canucks have had two players on Canada’s national junior team since 1999. Horvat, a two-way centre who thrives on big-game situations, looks to be a key player for head coach Brent Sutter. Another factor in the 6-foot, 205-pound Horvat’s favour is his versatility. He’s a centre who’s comfortable playing either wing, and at tournaments like the world juniors it’s not what you can do but what else you can do. Sutter wasn’t giving up any final roster secrets during a conference call, but it wasn’t hard to guess how much he likes Horvat. “If you look at the 15 players, there are a lot of centremen there, so a lot of them are going to have to play on the wing and Bo is one of those guys who can play either side or in the middle,” said Sutter. “It’s nice to have that, but you look at the overall thing — his strength, his power — he’s obviously a very good hockey player and has that element of size we like to have on our team.” Horvat, 18, is currently leading the OHL London Knights in scoring, with 12 goals and 37 points in 24 games. He’s 19th in OHL scoring, but has played fewer games than most of his competitors. “It would mean the world to me to make this team,” said Horvat, who was taken ninth overall by Vancouver at the June NHL draft. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes, whatever role they want me to play. “I’m feeling really good, really confident, like my game is where it should be right now. “ Shinkaruk, 19, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound winger with high-end speed and soft hands who was picked 24th overall by the Canucks, missed two weeks with a hip injury this season and is playing through a wonky shoulder. “It’s very exciting,” said Shinkaruk, 19, who has 5-11-16 in 18 games with the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers. “It would be unbelievable to be on this team. I remember growing up watching this tournament every Christmas.”
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