This is a great time of year. Sure it’s Christmas time which means friends, family, food and fun. But I’m talking about something else.

Instead I’m referring to the World Junior Hockey Championship which this year in being held in Buffalo, New York.

There is a bit of a local connection to the tournament this year. Tyson Barrie and Mitchell Callahan play for the Kelowna Rockets and will suit up for the Canadians and Americans respectively. Curtis Hamilton is a Kelowna native and plays for the Saskatoon Blades. He will suit up for the Canadians with Barrie.

Here’s a quick look at each of these players, what type of game they bring  and the tournament they are having so far. Let’s start with Tyson Barrie.

Barrie is the captain of his WHL club and a key point getter. While still having the remainder of this season with the Rockets Barrie has already established himself as the all-time leading scoring d-man for the Rockets. This is an incredible accomplishment for any team but when you consider the alumni from this team playing in the NHL such as Shea Webber, Scott Hannan, Josh Gorges, Duncan Keith and Tyler Myers to name a few, you know Barrie is more than competent in generating offensive points.

Where he may be a liability is on his defense.

You see he is not the most gifted skater.

Nor is the most aggressive player on the ice.

Or the biggest.

He gets by on his offensive skill set. And often times for the Rockets if he carries the puck and doesn’t score or set up a goal he gets trapped.

And I’ve already mentioned his skating. Not that he’s a bad skater. But he’s not the quickest or the most natural looking guy out there.

So how does this play in to the role he’ll play with this edition of Team Canada?

Well I think it depends on the type of game Canada plays, how Barrie does and how the other players, specifically d-men are playing.

In the WHL if Barrie tries to go end-to-end there is always the chance he can recover and still get back on D.

At the World Juniors there won’t be same opportunity to get back in the play.

The game will be faster and the opposition will be more likely to make you pay for mistakes.

In today’s game against Russia Barrie looked good. He isn’t playing the same game he does in junior.

And he doesn’t need to.

He made a great play on the Canadians first goal to keep the puck in at the blue line on the power play which lead Foligno getting the goal.

While he won’t make the stat sheet for this play his contribution won’t go unnoticed.

If Barrie continues to make plays like this he’s going to be alright. He’s got his head coach from Kelowna on the bench as an assistant and former NHL’er dad Len to provide insights as well.

Barrie plays with a maturity and calmness that defies his years. This will serve him well as the tournament continues and the pressure builds.


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