Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Goalie Set to Represent Canada for the First Time in Nearly a Decade

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Goalie Set to Represent Canada for the First Time in Nearly a Decade

Article excerpt

Holtby takes long road back to Team Canada


OTTAWA - When Braden Holtby last represented Canada on the international stage it was almost a decade ago and he barely played.

The 26-year-old from Lloydminster, Sask., has been slowly inching upward ever since. From fourth-round pick of the Washington Capitals to starting netminder in the NHL to Vezina Trophy winner and record-setter and back once more with Team Canada, this time as the likely next-in-line behind Carey Price at the World Cup of Hockey.

"It's a long road," Holtby said following the second day of World Cup training camp. "I just always focused on that next goal, that next level trying to get there. It's always been the dream to be here, so you never really think twice about it you just do what's necessary."

Holtby played eight minutes 50 seconds at his last international experience nine years ago (2007), the backup to future Colorado Avalanche draft pick Trevor Cann at the under-18 championships in Finland. The Canadians finished fourth that year, despite boasting Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, and Logan Couture, all of whom would join Holtby again nearly a decade later on the latest incarnation of the Canadian World Cup team.

Doughty somehow remembers it all quite well, even down to the fact that Cann (who's yet to play an NHL game) and not Holtby, started. Couture recalled playing cards with Holtby in their Finnish hotel room, describing him as a goaltender who was long under the radar.

Holtby was passed over entirely for the world junior championships.

"Even back then I remember he was a good goalie," Doughty said. "Obviously to be on the under-18 team you've got to be a really good goalie and I guess he's just taken that talent to another level. He's one of the best goalies in the league now."

Doughty said he couldn't envision then Holtby rising like he did.

"But at the same time a bunch of those guys on that (2007) team I never would've thought they've done what they've done," said Doughty, the second overall pick in the same 2008 draft that saw Holtby picked 93rd. "So many guys are unbelievable players at that age and they kind of go the wrong way down the roller-coaster and they don't make the NHL. …

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