WINNIPEG Jets' first-round draft pick Mark Scheifele has been invited to Team Canada's selection camp next month in Calgary.
The camp will include 41 of the top prospects in the country between 18 and 20 years old, all vying for a spot to compete at the World Junior Championships.
"He made it? Shocker," deadpanned Jets captain Andrew Ladd on Monday. "That's great. That's something for me that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was an amazing experience.
"There's nothing, really, else like it. It's such a short pressure-cooker for all the guys and to be a part of it as a Canadian kid is something, I'm sure, he grew up wanting to do. He's a big-game player so he'll be a great addition if he makes it."
Scheifele played seven games for the Jets to start this season and since being returned to the OHL's Barrie Colts, he has put up nine goals and 26 points in just 14 games.
The camp invite list also includes Winnipeg's Mark Stone of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Oak Bank's Quinton Howden of the Moose Jaw Warriors.
"It's a great event," former World Junior player Nik Antropov said. "That's where the top players in the world under 20 years old are. They're the next NHLers, basically. They grow up and have a good experience playing against each other. That's exciting."
Jets coach Claude Noel sees a potential World Junior experience as important for Scheifele's development.
"It's a high level, it's pressure-packed and that's all part of maturing," Noel said. "Hopefully he gets through that process and makes that team. He's had a lot of success going back to junior. I really hope he gets an opportunity to stay there because I think there's a tremendous growth for that. You hope he gets that chance. You know he'll be trying; he's a very sincere player.
"It's nice to see he's having success and has been rewarded with a tryout there."