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Kerins, O'Rourke look to leave impression at Canadian camp

Rory Kerins and Ryan O'Rourke were among 51 players invited to Hockey Canada's National Junior Team summer camp on Wednesday

A pair of Soo Greyhounds veterans will get an opportunity to show their stuff in hopes of eventually earning a spot on Canada’s National Junior Team.

On Wednesday, Hockey Canada announced a group of 51 players that have been invited to attend its Summer Development Camp and among the players were Greyhounds forward Rory Kerins and defenceman Ryan O’Rourke.

For Kerins, the opportunity to participate in the camp is a new experience.

“It means so much,” Kerins said of the opportunity. “I didn’t get picked for U17 or U18 so this is my first event with Hockey Canada. This means a lot. I was really upset not making the U17 or U18 camps or teams. This is kind of a full circle moment for me and I’m working hard for a shot at playing for Team Canada.”

“There’s only 51 guys that make that camp and being on the Zoom call, it’s so professional,” Kerins also said. “I played in the AHL this year and kind of know the standard of what being a pro is and they do it to a T. This is the first step and there are so many steps to making the team. I’m happy that I got the opportunity to make this big step for me and hopefully I can make a good impression.”

For O’Rourke, who competed for Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the opportunity to compete at the NJT camp helps in a lot of ways.

“It’s good all around (to be selected to the camp),” O’Rourke added. “It’s good for your notoriety and people seeing you and it’s good developmentally playing against the best guys your age. It doesn’t get much better than this.”

Having participated in Hockey Canada camps before, O’Rourke spoke of how the hardest part is in the background in some ways.

“They’re not meant to be taxing or put a lot of pressure on you,” O’Rourke said. “Getting to that point is probably the hardest part. Then, showing them or proving to them why they picked you for the camp and why they should ultimately pick you for the team if you get to that point, it’s something that you shouldn’t stress about in a sense because you did a lot of work to get there. It’s about proving yourself and proving to them that you’re the player you really are.”

On Wednesday, Hockey Canada also announced that former Greyhounds coach Dave Cameron will serve as head coach of Team Canada at the tournament. Cameron was also named the new head coach of the Ottawa 67’s on Wednesday.

Cameron replaces Andre Tourigny in both roles after the latter took a job with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

The camp is scheduled to begin on July 29 in Alberta.