The Canadian Hockey League’s website posted an interview with Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno, discussing his lengthy playing history for Hockey Canada as Veleno attempts to earn another spot on the Canadian World Junior Championship team:
For Veleno, the chance to return to the national stage follows past opportunities not only including last year’s world juniors, but a pair of appearances at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup – Veleno captained Canada to a gold medal win in 2017 – plus a five-game showing with Team Canada Black at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
In all, there has been no shortage of big moments preparing Veleno for the national spotlight, including multiple appearances in the CIBC Canada Russia Series, an invaluable tune up for players and talent evaluators alike ahead of the World Juniors.
“It’s one of the steps to playing for Team Canada,” Veleno told the Canadian Hockey League. “The Summer Showcase is No. 1, and the next step is a little bit of your season, but then it’s the Canada Russia Series, which is really important. Ever since I played my first series, the first thing I think about is Hockey Canada. It’s a way for them to view where you are and if you’re going to get invited to camp and make the team.”
After finishing an unsatisfying sixth place at last year’s World Juniors, Veleno is hopeful for a different outcome his second time around.
“I think last year was really big. It was obviously one of my goals to play for Team Canada at 18. I worked really hard for that, it was obviously a disappointing result, but hopefully this time around we step up and win that gold medal.”