For the second November in a row, Colton Sissons will suit up with Team WHL for the Subway Super Series.
This time, the 19-year-old Kelowna Rockets’ captain hopes his performance will ultimately lead to an invite to Canada’s national junior team selection camp next month.
Sissons and the WHL squad will take on Team Russia on Wednesday night at Pacific Coliseum.
It’s the fifth of six exhibition games involving the CHL and the Russians in the annual lead-up to the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Russia plays two games each year against the Quebec Major Junior League, two against the OHL, and the final two against the WHL.
For Sissons, the North Vancouver native hopes to make the most of the chance to impress Hockey Canada.
“It’s a big opportunity and hopefully it’ll be a step for me in getting a tryout with Team Canada in December,” said Sissons, who has 19 points and a +16 rating in 20 games this season. “There’ll be a lot of pressure on me, but it’ll also be a lot of fun. Playing in my hometown in front of family and friends will be exciting.”
Sissons didn’t earn an invitation to the national junior camp last year, but now a year older and more mature, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound centre feels better equipped to represent his country in international competition.
And while Hockey Canada doesn’t make its personnel decisions based one game—such as the Subway Super Series—Sissons knows he can help his cause with a solid effort Wednesday.
“This is kind of the first year I’ve maybe had a really good chance at it,” he said. “I just have to be myself, play my game, and hopefully that’ll be good enough.”
As for taking on the high-powered Russians Wednesday, Sissons welcomes the challenge.
“Obvoulsly they have a really strong squad, they almost have the roster that they’ll bring to the (world juniors) in Russia,” Sissons said. “It will intense, they’re a strong, fast-skating team. It’s going to be a challenge, no soubt, but a fun game to watch and fun game to participate in.”
A second team of WHL players will take on the Russians on Thursday night in Victoria.
Canada will hold its selection camp Dec. 11 to 15 in Calgary, with 22 players making the final roster.
The IIHF WJC will be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia.
Rocket Shots…The Rockets (12-6-1-1) will take a five-game winning streak to Kennewick, Wash., this weekend for a doubleheader with the Tri-City Americans. The teams will meet Friday and Saturday at the Toyota Centre…Kelowna has outscored its opponents 22-4 during the five-game streak, including 8-1 over Red Deer on Friday.