Now, this really grinds my gears. As a hockey fan and a fan of the WHL's Prince George Cougars, I am more than a little discouraged that Jansen Harkins was left out of the Team Canada Summer Development Camp. Yes, I know that he still has a chance to make the team if he does well in the start of the regular season either with the Cougars or the Jets. It's the fact that he has been passed over by most of the Canadian teams, despite being a catalyst for the resurgence of the Cougars organization. The Smoke Show had Cougars President Greg Pocock in the studio a couple of weeks ago; he mentioned that the reason some of the other players on the team got the looks they did from the scouts was due in major part to Harkins plays and draft status. How can you ignore something like that?
If Tom Renney and company wanted to bring in fresh faces to see what they looked like, why not bring in a guy that has helped your nation to a gold in the Ivan Hlinka tournament and a bronze in the under 18 tournament last year? Maybe they have seen what Harkins can do on multiple stages and want to look at players that they have never seen at any point in the international realm. Then why do you have Dylan Strome, Jake Virtanen, Lawson Crouse, Robby Fabri, and Tomas Konecny? All of these forwards are high draft picks and they were on the world junior team next year. There is no need to "develop" these particular players because you already know that they are the best in the world for their age group. It is time to give the likes of Harkins their due on one of the biggest international stages in sports.
Speaking of draft picks, one could argue that all the aforementioned players were drafted higher than Harkins, so they deserve to be in Calgary instead of Harkins. I present exhibit a) Dylan Sadowy. Sadowy plays for Saginaw of the OHL, and was drafted in the 3rd round by the Tampa Bay Lightning, he also happens to have the exact same physical stats that Harkins does. Both are 6 foot 1, both are 180lbs, both shoot left handed. So, why do you invite a guy of similar attributes physically but has supposedly less skill to a Team Canada camp. Colour me confused. Exhibit b) Spencer Watson. Now this one really baffles me when compared to Prince George's Harkins. Watson is smaller at only 5 fo0t 9, and he was drafted a significant amount lower in an arguably weaker draft year; he was drafted 209th overall. Now, I can do into some conspiracy theory arguments right about now showcasing that the vast majority of the invitees were from the Ontario Hockey League (much like where most of the brass is from), or that you can count on one hand how many players are from B.C compared to the overwhelming majority that were born in the east. No, I am not going to go down that path. Instead, I am simply going to say that Team Canada missed the boat on Harkins, but they better start giving him a fair look when it gets closer to Christmas and Hanukkah when he is ripping it up for the Cougars or NHL's Rudy, the Winnipeg Jets.
My name is Smoke Stark and this has been my rant on Team Canada snubbing Jansen Harkins from development camp. Thank you very much for reading and, Hockey Canada... YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY!