By Makayla Peacock
For four Ravens, their university hockey experience will extend well beyond the boundaries of Carleton.
Corey Durocher, Michael McNamee, Ryan Van Stralen, and Brett Welychka, members of the Carleton Ravens men’s hockey team, have been named to Team Canada for the 2017 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan later this month.
According to McNamee, the event will be a once in a lifetime experience.
“It’s obviously a great honour and it will be a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “I know for a lot of us, it’ll be the first time being able to represent Canada as a nation, and to me, that’s something every young hockey player dreams of doing.”
In addition to the four players, head coach Marty Johnston will be playing his usual role behind the bench and serve as assistant coach of the national team.
Bringing Carleton’s style to the big stage
While McNamee said he brings a strong offensive side to the game and is working on his defensive style, Durocher said one of his biggest strengths is being a two-way player.
“I think I can bring a strong two-way game to Team Canada,” he said. “Being able to play strong defensively and on the penalty kill as well as chipping in some timing goals and using my speed to my advantage, especially on the bigger international ice surfaces we’ll be playing on in Kazakhstan.”
McNamee said he is confident in his abilities and his team’s ability to bring the gold medal home.
“Getting the chance to win a gold medal is something that doesn’t come around very often, so it’s definitely something to be proud of,” he said. “I think as a team we’re going there with winning on our minds and I think we have the team to do that. I just hope I can find a role and do my best to help the team win.”
Putting the rivalries in the past
Being a part of Team Canada means playing with former Ontario University Athletics (OUA) rivals, as the team is comprised of players from across the league. McNamee said that shouldn’t matter when each player laces up their skates.
“At tournaments like this you sort of put your own personal achievements aside and focus on the big picture which is winning a gold medal,” he said. “Everybody chosen is obviously chosen for a reason and we’re all good players. It’s a good feeling to get together with some of the best players in the country and we just hope we can represent Canada well.”
Canadian pride on an international stage
Durocher said when he got the call from head coach Brett Gibson, he was excited, but nervous at the news he was about to receive. He also said he sees it as representing not only the country, but the OUA and U Sports.
“Being named to Team Canada is obviously a privilege and honour. To get to represent not only the OUA, but all of U Sports and Canada is going to be an amazing experience,” he said. “When he told me I had been named to the team, I was extremely excited and I can’t wait to get over to Kazakhstan and play against the other countries.”
“I’m excited to finally be able to wear the maple leaf on an international stage and represent my country,” Durocher said.
The tournament opens with Team Canada facing China on Jan. 28.