Volume 12 Week 5

Saturday, March 25


 

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Orléans Ward
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'(Posted 7:30 p.m., April 5)
Gudbranson to play in World U18 Hockey Championships
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Orléans own Steffi Didomenicantonio, better known to thousands of Canadians as Steffi D., stars in the national Broadway touring production of Spring Awakening which is currently playing at the Canon Theatre in Toronto until April 19. Photo supplied


It's hard to believe that just 12 months ago, Erik Gudbranson was packing away his hockey equip.m.ent after playing his final game with the Ottawa Jr. 67's Minor Midget AAA team.

After scoring 15 goals and 55 points playing right defence for the 67’s, he was projected by many to go in the first round of the OHL Priority Selection Draft, which he did. He was selected 4th overall by the Kingston Frontenacs.

Despite the Frontenacs dismal start to the season, the 6-foot-four, 185 pounder was selected to play for Team Ontario at the World U17 Championships in Port Albeni, B.C. where he helped lead the team to a gold medal.

As the Frontenacs continued to flounder in the basement of the OHL’s Eastern Conference, Gudbranson continued to attract the attention of Hockey Canada officials who selected him to play for the U18 team despite the fact that he’s only 17-years-old, having celebrated his birthday on Jan. 7.

According to his mother Donna, Gudbranson got the call from Hockey Canada a couple of weeks ago after he had moved back to Orléans at the end of the regular season. He had transferred to École secondaire Louis Riel and was preparing to play in the francophonie secondary school provincial championships, when the phone rang with the news.

“Oh my goodness, he was absolutely thrilled,” says his mother. “It’s huge. It’s not just another feather in your cap. To get a chance to play for your country in the World Championships is incredible.”

The team flew to Minneapolis together on April 2 for a mini-camp and a pair of exhibition games against Slovakia and Germany. They will be traveling to Fargo on Wednesday in anticipation of their first game against Germany on Thursday.

Gudbranson is hoping to have a good showing at the tournament which would put him in good stead when Hockey Canada gets around to sending out the first invitations to the World Junior team develop.m.ent camp which is traditionally held at the end of July.

He will also be high on the list when Hockey Canada puts together the U18 team for Ivan Hlinka Tournament in August.

Although Gudbranson is not draft eligible until 2010, he’s already attracted the interest of a number of NHL teams. Some hockey oriented websites are predicting he could go as high as eighth overall if he stays healthy and continues to work on his game.

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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