Three IceDogs to represent Canada
It was a good night for three ’Dogs.
Ryan Strome, Dougie Hamilton and Brett Ritchie all made the final cut Thursday and will represent Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Russia beginning Boxing Day.
Strome and Hamilton were a given — no player has ever been cut after making the team previously — but Ritchie’s fate was less certain.
“I thought Ritchie would make it all along,” IceDogs coach/general manager Marty Williamson said. “I’m real happy for him.”
Williamson said he received messages from all three players Thursday once the final roster was announced.
“They thanked us but we just couldn’t be happier for them,” Williamson added. “We’re going to have a lot of fun watching them win a gold medal.”
Ritchie is in the midst of a breakout campaign for the IceDogs. He’s tied with Boone Jenner for the OHL lead with 27 goals.
“I think he’s going to be the big surprise,” Williamson said. “His confidence is sky-high and that big ice surface will be no problem for him. He’s going to be a handful to handle.”
Williamson has heard Ritchie will continue to be paired with Strome on a line.
“That’s nice chemistry for them and it’s a comfort level for Ritchie,” Williamson said.
Ritchie, who will be making his international debut, tweeted “dream come true” shortly after the roster was revealed.