With the NHL’s 2020-21 campaign reportedly scheduled to begin on Jan. 13, which is still subject to change, the annual World Junior Championship tournament will be the only form of hockey taking place in North America during this holiday season.
While that means the Winnipeg Jets probably won’t open training camp until the new year, they’ll certainly be able to pass the time by watching one of the most competitive events involving some of the best young skaters from around the world. Adding to this, the front office will be able to keep a close eye on Cole Perfetti – who they drafted in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft – as he’s officially made the final cut on Team Canada’s 25-man roster.
Hockey Canada announces 25-man World Juniors roster.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 11, 2020
Despite being cut from the team around this time last year, Perfetti was determined to prevent that from happening once again this time around and it’s now safe to say he was successful in accomplishing his goal. Though this year’s camp was met with some usual challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 18-year old explained how missing out on last winter’s tournament motivated him to come back stronger and now he feels extremely happy to see all of his hard work pay off in such a huge way.
“Being so close and then falling short, getting cut, then watching them win the gold medal made me really hungry and motivate me to make the team this year,” Perfetti discussed to Mitchell Clinton of JetsTV. “All the hard work and everything paid off, it’s all worth it now.”
Growing up as a kid, Perfetti would gather around the living room with his family and they’d all watch the World Juniors tournament together, but things are expected to be a little bit different for him this winter. Even though he won’t be surrounded by his family this winter, the 5-foot-10 forward received a much-needed video call from them as they delivered the news to him about making the final cut on Team Canada’s roster.
“So I got a knock, went out, and my parents and my sister were on FaceTime,” Perfetti explained. “It’s been a family goal and something we’ve all wanted. My family has been really supportive of me, so to be able to share the news from them and hear it from them, it was pretty cool.”
Over 61 games with the Saginaw Spirit before the OHL’s shutdown ended his 2019-20 campaign prematurely, Perfetti produced 37 goals, 111 points, 0.61 goals per game, 1.82 points per game, 244 shots on net, a 51.2 faceoff percentage, along with a pair of game-winning goals.
While the tournament won’t officially begin for another couple of weeks, Team Canada is planning to hold a few practices with its current roster and everyone involved will be forced to quarantine for a few days before entering the bubble in Edmonton. Looking to showcase his talents on the biggest stage of his career, Perfetti admitted he’s very excited to finally face off against some different competition and can’t wait for the tournament to open.
“The next couple days here will be practice and do stuff as a team,” Perfetti detailed. “Sunday we leave for Edmonton to go to the bubble. Then right away we have practices and a couple days later, our pre-tournament games against Sweden and Russia. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m excited to do it.”