Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Daemon Hunt will have his chance to represent Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship after all.
Hunt was one of 10 players from the Western Hockey League named to the Canadian National Junior Team roster for the 2022 tournament, which will run from Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton as a complete reschedule from the COVID-cancelled event this past winter.
It’ll mark the third time Hunt has been considered for the World Junior team and the first time he’s made it, although circumstances were beyond his control both other instances.
Hunt was in camp for the 2021 tournament in Edmonton, with that event played in an isolated bubble designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Despite isolation efforts leading up to the camp, Hunt came down with COVID-19 early on in the proceedings and was forced to sit out the selection camp in isolation.
When the time came to announce to team, Hunt had cleared testing protocols, but Alberta Health officials were taking no chances and disqualified the then-18-year-old from playing in the event.
Fast forward to this past December, and Hunt had worked his way through to the final scrimmage of selection camp when disaster struck -- a blocked shot caught the Warriors captain just above the glove on his right hand, fracturing a bone in his wrist and causing him to miss World Juniors as well as a month of regular-season action.
The Minnesota Wild draft pick capped his 19-year-old season with 17 goals and 39 points in 46 games for the Warriors and had 33 goals and 94 points in 163 games for his career while emerging as one of the WHL’s top rearguards.
The Hockey Canada assignment is far from the Brandon product’s first, as he has played for Team Canada at every step of his career.
Hunt first played for the national team at the 2018 World U17 Hockey Challenge in November 2018, putting up two assists in five games before Canada Black fell in the quarter-finals.
The following April, he was right back in the red, white and black, this time at the World U18 Championship. Hunt would have an assist in seven games as Canada lost the bronze medal game to the United States.
Hunt’s most recent Team Canada duties came in August 2019 at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he was held without a point through five games. Canada would fall to Russia in the gold medal game.
The 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship originally took place during its regular slot over the Christmas and New Year holidays, but after a massive outbreak of COVID-19 that caused cancellations and forfeits, the decision was made to cancel the remainder of the tournament.
In February, it was decided the tournament would be completely replayed from scratch in August, with all games taking place in Edmonton and players who were eligible in December remaining eligible for the new tournament.
Canada opens their World Juniors on Aug. 10 against Latvia before facing Slovakia on Aug. 11, Czechia on Aug. 13 and Finland on Aug. 15. The quarter-final round runs Aug. 17, semifinals on Aug. 19 and medal games on Aug. 20.