Airdrie hockey player reflects on Team Canada experience at IIHF U18 world championships

Despite not making the podium, Davies said he was proud to play on international ice with such experienced teammates, adding that the opportunity was a great learning experience to learn from some of Hockey Canada’s top coaches.

An Airdrie hockey player who plays for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos recently represented his country and hometown internationally, lacing up his skates for Team Canada at the 2022 IIHF World U18 Hockey Championships in Germany last month.

Josh Davies, 18, has played for the Broncos in Western Canada’s top league for under-21 hockey players for the past two seasons. Before that he was a member of the U18 AAA Airdrie CFR Chemicals Bisons, the Edge Mountaineers Prep Team and the U15 AAA Airdrie Xtreme.

According to Davies, the news came as a bit of a surprise that he was selected to play for Team Canada at the international championship, which was held from April 21 to May 1 in Landshut, Germany, and Kaufbeuren, Swabia.

“I was pretty excited,” Davies said, adding that he was initially eliminated from the playoffs, which were designed to determine the skaters who would represent Canada in the championship.

“I found out on Sunday morning that I was getting on a 5am flight to Germany on Monday morning to play for Canada,” he said. “I called my parents afterwards and it was quite an emotional day, but quite an exciting day.”

The pro hockey hopeful said he was proud to have been selected to represent both his country and hometown in the competition.

“It’s definitely an honor to be selected by Airdrie and to be one of two guys from the Calgary area,” he said. “Airdrie is a great little town and it’s pretty cool to be able to represent everyone here.”

During the competition, Team Canada faced Team USA in the preliminary rounds on April 23 and were defeated 8–3.

In the following game, the team went back onto the ice. In the end, the Canadians won the game 8:3 against the hosts Germany.

In the third preliminary round game on April 26, the team played against the Czech Republic and had to admit defeat at the end with 6:5. The Canadians reached the quarterfinals and played against Finland, losing 6-5 in overtime, eliminating them from the championship before reaching the semifinals.

Despite not making the podium, Davies said he was proud to play on international ice with such experienced teammates, adding that the opportunity was a great learning experience to learn from some of Hockey Canada’s top coaches.

“Playing with the best players in Canada and being on this international stage is pretty surreal,” he said. “You only realize it when you get there and it shows how much hard work we put into my hockey to get me there.

“It was a pleasure to be there. It was an honor to wear this [maple leaf] Comb.”

Throughout the championship, Davies had one assist in his three games, mostly in the team’s fourth row.

“I think if you put that crest on at the end of the day, it’s the Maple Leaf – very limited players are allowed to wear that crest,” he said. “Putting on this coat of arms and representing my country was the highlight.

“Like any other kid out there, you always want to represent your country and to have the chance to do so is a great honour.”

Davies said he was drafted in the NHL this year and is excited for the future. He’s working on getting “bigger, faster, stronger” and developing his “hockey IQ” on the ice.

“I’m just trying to get better every day, whether it’s the small things or the big things, and just work on my game,” he said. “[The IIHF U18 world championship] is a great stepping stone for me and my family and it was the next step I needed to take and I got there. I just have to keep going.”

The hockey player is ranked 69th on NHL Central Scouting’s final list ahead of the July 7 NHL Entry Draft.

“It’s pretty cool when NHL teams reach out and contact you,” Davies said. “Just looking at the mock drafts and all the rankings that come out, I try not to let that affect me and try not to let it go to my head. The work has only just begun.”

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