A strong performance at a four-day selection camp in Toronto has earned Nic Petan a trip to Slovakia.
Petan, a member of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League (WHL), was named to the under-18 national team which will compete at the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament Aug. 13-18.
“I feel very fortunate to have a chance to play with these great players,” said Petan Tuesday after practice in Toronto, a day after he was named to the Canadian team. “I came here just expecting to work hard. I didn’t know anything about anybody else, or what it would take. I just wanted to have no regrets.”
Hockey Canada invited 40 players to last weekend’s selection camp, which included three scrimmages in which Petan notched one of his team’s three goals.
Canada departed today (Thursday) for Slovakia, where they will play round games in Piestany against Switzerland on Monday, Sweden on Tuesday and the host nation on Wednesday. The top two teams in their group advance to a playoff round scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
“I’m a playmaker, a two-way forward,” he said when asked to describe his playing style. “I like to make plays and score goals, but I also like to play defensively. And this team is looking at your defensive zone play.
“I’ve been told I’ll be doing some penalty-killing (in Slovakia), and I’m looking forward to it.”
Petan, a 17 year-old from North Delta, completed his first season of Major Junior Hockey last May, when the Winterhawks lost the WHL final in seven games to the Edmonton Oil Kings. The 5’9” centre scored 14 goals and 35 points in 61 games played.
He made the jump to the Major Junior level directly from the BC Hockey Major Midget League, where he scored 19 goals and 49 points in 35 games with the Greater Vancouver Canadians.
He was also a member of Team BC under-17 squad at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, scoring four goals and 12 points in six games. His sixth goal was the winner in a 7-4 win over Quebec in the gold medal game, a contest in which he also had four assists.
“The jump from (Major Midget) to the Western League was a big one, but I got used to it right away” he said. “The players are bigger, and it’s a faster pace. As a smaller guy (155 pounds), you have to make room for yourself.”
Upon his return from Slovakia, Petan will be back in Portland where he will begin his second season in the WHL, one in which he expects to more than double his offensive production.
“I’d like to get at least 30 goals,” he said. “At least, that’s what I’m aiming for.”