Vancouver Island hockey lovers can cheer on one of their own when Team Canada hits the ice on Boxing Day, as Victoria’s Dylan Garand is one of the team’s three goalies.
On Dec. 10, Garand, who was selected by the New York Rangers during the 2020 NHL draft in October, was named to Team Canada’s World Junior roster alongside fellow goalies Taylor Gauthier and Devon Levi.
The young goalie had a tidy 2.21 goals-against average in 42 games for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers in the 2019-20 season, earning him notice by the Rangers. Garand got his start with Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey and now, will represent Canada in the 2021 World Junior championships, Dec. 25 to Jan. 5 in Edmonton.
Garand was woken early last Thursday at the Red Deer, Alta. hotel where the team was in quarantine and was told to come down to meet with the coaches – he worried the news was bad.
“I was a bit nervous that maybe I was getting sent home but after they told us the news, it was a great feeling,” he said.
Who better to share the good news than their #1 fans?
— #WorldJuniors (@HC_WJC) December 10, 2020
Team Canada had set it up so the players’ parents were the ones to tell them they’d made the team over a video call.
In a video posted to Hockey Canada’s World Junior Twitter page, Garand’s family got choked up while telling him the good news and noted that the excitement will raise everyone’s spirits back home over the holidays.
“It was definitely pretty emotional and such a special moment that I’ll never forget,” Garand said, adding that not only was his dream coming true, but sharing it with his family was important because “they’re such a big part of it.”
When asked how the pandemic impacted his training, Garand said he spent the break back home in Greater Victoria trying to get stronger and improve his skills.
“I was fortunate enough to be in a good situation and I made the most of it,” he said. His summer of training was capped off with getting drafted to the NHL.
For Garand, the focus now is not to clamour for the starting goalie position but rather to do whatever it takes to ensure Team Canada’s success.
“Whatever role that we’re given, we’re all going to do our best to execute it,” he explained. “It’s awesome to know that I’m going to be a part of this team and now it’s just time to keep going.”
Team Canada and the players from nine other international teams will enter a tournament bubble in Edmonton and the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship is sets to start Dec. 25.
-With files from Travis Paterson and Canadian Press.