Ambrosio gearing up for Team Canada camp
Colby Ambrosio is once again going to get a chance to see how he stacks up against the best young players in the world.
The 16-year-old Welland native represented Canada last year at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in New Brunswick and was recently invited to attend Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp, set for July 26-30 at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
“I was part of the U-17 team but for the U-18 I knew there were a lot of good players and they select only 44 so it was in the back of my mind if I was going to make it,” said Ambrosio, who turns 17 Aug. 2. “Once I got the call, I was pretty excited.”
Ambrosio, who collected three assists in five games at the U-17 tournament, said the key will be to keep things simple.
“I’m just going to have to play my game and not let anything get into my head. Stay focused on the task at hand and take it day-by-day,” he said.
He realizes the competition will be stiff, but figures he can get something out of the camp even if he doesn’t make the final cut.
“If I do make it or don’t make it, it’s motivation both ways,” he said. “If I don’t make it, it’s motivation to work that much harder and to improve myself. If I do make it, it’s motivation that way too, to work hard and try and bring home a trophy.”
Ambrosio said he learned a ton at last year’s tournament.
“It helped me a lot going up against all the best 02’s (2002) in the world,” he said. “It got my play a lot better playing against those kinds of players and being around my team and the staff and the whole organization.”
Playing for his country was icing on the cake.
“It’s unreal. It’s everything I dreamt of as a kid playing hockey in Canada. You want to wear that Maple Leaf as a kid and it’s such a big honour.”
Ambrosio, who works out four times as week at Top Dawgs Fitness in Welland in addition to four on-ice sessions a week, is coming off a solid rookie season with the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League where he collected 12 goals and 24 points in 57 games.
He plans to return to the USHL this season. He is committed to Boston College for the 2020 season.
The players will compete for a chance to represent Canada at 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia. The camp roster includes two players who were part of Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team that finished fourth at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship in Sweden (Drysdale, Hunt).
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup will see Team Canada play its preliminary-round games at Ice Bors Arena in Breclav. The event will run from Aug. 5-10, with Canada facing off against the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland in preliminary play before the tournament wraps up with the bronze and gold medal games on Aug. 10.
Canada has won gold 22 times in 28 years of summer under-18 competition, along with two silver medals and one bronze.
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