KENNEWICK -- Before Carter Ashton pulls on a Tri-City Americans jersey, he will don the red and white of Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.
The star forward, who was acquired by the Americans in a trade with Regina last Friday, was one of 22 players named to Team Canada on Wednesday.
"It will probably sink in with the first game," said Ashton from Toronto, where Team Canada held its selection camp. "It's been a whirlwind since the trade. We played three games, and I thought I had a good camp. (Tuesday) night was the most nerve-racking night I have had."
The players who were cut Wednesday morning were notified with a phone call. Those who made the team got a knock on their doors around 8 a.m.
"I was up at 6 -- I didn't know if I would get cut," said Ashton, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound left wing from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. "My roommate got cut earlier in the week, so I knew the knock on the door was for me."
The WJC will be held Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Buffalo, N.Y. Team Canada will open play Dec. 26 against Russia.
Team Canada will play three exhibition games before the tournament, starting with Switzerland on Monday and Sweden on Tuesday. It will play Finland on Dec. 23.
Ashton is the 15th Tri-City player to earn a roster spot for the WJC. Of the 15, seven have played for Canada, three for the United States, two for Slovakia and one each for Sweden, the Czech Republic and Belarus.
"We are honored that he was chosen for Team Canada and proud that he will be representing our team," said Americans general manager Bob Tory. "We knew he was a good player. This experience will help in pressure situations, and that will help us when he gets back. This is exciting for the team and the fans."
Once the day got under way, Team Canada was on the go. The team returned to the hotel just before 9 p.m. Eastern time.
"After we were notified, we had a meeting, had breakfast, then signed autographs on jerseys and sticks and stuff for about an hour," Ashton said. "From there, we went to the rink for team pictures, a couple of TSN shoots and other media stuff. It's been a long day, especially after only getting a couple of hours of sleep last night."
Team Canada will play in Group B with Norway, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
After its game against the Russians, Team Canada will play the Czech Republic on Dec. 28, Norway on Dec. 29 and Sweden on Dec. 31.
From there, Team Canada's schedule will depend on its ranking coming out of pool play.
Ashton knows the Americans spent a pretty penny (first-round draft pick in 2011) to bring him into the fold, and he want to assure Americans fans he will be ready for work when he arrives in the Tri-Cities.
"I thought a trade would happen sooner or later," said Ashton, whose Regina team had just eight wins when he was traded. "Tri-City was one of the rumors I heard before the trade. I was grateful to be traded to Tri-City.
"At first, my main focus was going to Tri-City, but now I'm at the World Juniors," Ashton said. "It's been a bit busy, but that's part of the business. I went straight on the road to Toronto. I haven't even had a chance to pack up. When I get back, I hope to get in a long playoff run."
There will be a couple of familiar faces in the Americans' dressing room when Ashton arrives.
He played part of a season in Lethbridge with defenseman Brock Sutherland, roomed with forward Adam Hughesman at the U17 tournament in London, Ontario, a couple of years ago, and played on a line with Brendan Shinnimin at the Subway Series against the Russians last month in Kamloops.
"Shinnimin is a great player," Ashton said. "I thought we played well together, and we scored a couple goals."
|Sergei Drozd||Forward||Belarus (WJ-A)||2009|
|Jaroslav Kristek||Forward||Czech Republic||2000|
|Scott Gomez||Forward||United States||1998-99|
|Brian Boucher||Goaltender||United States||1996-97|
|Bill Lindsay||Forward||United States||1991|