Admittedly, getting a hold of Pats Forward Morgan Klimchuk after Team Canada's U18 team took care of Sweden 7-5 in Piestany, Slovakia ran into a couple hitches. Mainly because of my lack of understanding when it comes to phoning different countries. It's not exactly something I do on a regular basis, though I'm guessing it will happen a little more often in the future. When I finally figured out what I was doing wrong, I had a good chat with Morgan. The audio of that conversation is available in its entirety at ReginaPats.com.
Canada picked up its second win at the annual Ivan Hlinka Tournament with the victory over Sweden. It was also the game Klimchuk picked up his first goal of the tournament. On his first shift of the game no less. "The hard work payed off for me, I was going to the net and managed to put one home," says Klimchuk, "I'm just trying to do whatever I can to contribute and today that was by scoring a goal."
Klimchuk's early goal actually put the Canadians up two-nothing before the game was two minutes old. Possible number one overall pick, Nathan MacKinnon, led off the scoring only 32 seconds into the contest. Klimchuk hasn't exactly been in the conversation for being the top pick at next summer's NHL draft, but he's among the prospects getting a good look for the first round. This week's tournament gives him a chance to play alongside many of those highly touted prospects.
"It's really motivating. You see how good everyone is here, and not only that, but how hard they work. It's really cool to see how hard they push each other and how hard they work day in and day out, on the ice and off the ice. It's an eye opening experience to realize they're not sitting back saying, 'okay, we're the best players in the country,' they're working that much harder to remain that way."
The timing of the Ivan Hlinka Tournament is great for these (mostly) 2013 draft eligible players who are entering the biggest season of their hockey careers to date. The significance of this late off-season tune-up isn't lost on Klimchuk.
"It's a confidence booster for sure. You're playing with real good players and you get to do some things you might not get to do with your club team, that's really important and really fun. It's a big boost for you going into your season. You're already in game shape when you go to camp, so that's a big advantage on the guys on your team."
Heading into his second full season with the Pats, Klimchuk is happy to have some of the pressure of training camp lifted from last season.
"Obviously you have to go to camp and play as if you're trying out for a spot, because you are, but it's not so much, 'oh my God am I going to be sticking here this year?' It's just, 'I've got to start performing and finding my role on this team."
Klimchuk and his Team Canada teammates face off with the the host Slovaks Wednesday morning.
He'll be reunited with his Pats teammates August 30th when registration opens for Pats Training Camp.
For more Pats news and videos, head over to ReginaPats.com.