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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

On Summer Development Camp


By Fred Wallace

 Last week, Hockey Canada released the list of players who will participate in the virtual Summer Development Camp next month.


There were 16 Ontario Hockey League players on the list, but none representing the Owen Sound Attack.


And while a lot of things can happen between now & the World Junior Tournament, the early indication is the Attack won't have a member of the Canadian entry for the first time in 4 years.


And I wonder if that's really a bad thing................


The recent trend for Attack players that have competed at the World Junior is that they are never quite as good when they return as they were before they departed.


I feel bad saying this because Jonah Gadjovich, Marcus Phillips, Nick Suzuki and Aidan Dudas are the kind of players and people you want in your organization.


But the numbers seem to bear me out.


In 2018, Gadjovich returned from the World Juniors and 4 days later was so hindered by a bad back he could barely get off the Attack bus during a Northern Road trip.


It didn't get a great deal better for Gadjovich as he missed two crucial playoff games against Sault Ste Marie that year, both losses, and finished the post season at -4 in 9 games.


For Phillips and Suzuki, they barely returned to Owen Sound, dealt in rapid succession to the Guelph Storm after the tournament.


You can make the argument that Suzuki used the World Juniors as a springboard to a dominant post season with Guelph and a prominent start to his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens. 


Phillips wasn't as successful, returning to the OHL as an overager and finishing his days at London.


And Aidan Dudas returned from a Gold Medal win at the last World Juniors and never found his scoring touch, putting up just 4 goals in his final 25 games last year; 2 of them in the 11-1 blowout win at Niagara.


Ironically, Owen Sound's best success as a team came in 2011 when they won the OHL title after 3 members of the Attack; Jesse Blacker, Joey Hishon & Garrett Wilson were cut from Team Canada.

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