The idea of representing Canada at the Winter Olympics never really occurred to Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.
Most young goalies think about their career in terms of NHL team and individual honors: Making it to the league, earning a starting job, competing for a Stanley Cup. But last month Holtby was one of four goalies invited to Hockey Canada’s team orientation camp for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Much like the Unites States’ camp – scheduled to be held Kettler Iceplex on Aug. 26 and 27 – the Canadian camp from Aug. 25-28 won’t have any on-ice work thanks to insurance issues. So it’s not like Holtby will be taking shots from Sidney Crosby for four days.
It’s more an orientation camp where the coaching staff can begin to install its systems and provide players with information on the Olympic experience.
“It’s a little weird, me being the young guy,” said Holtby, 23. “I probably have the least amount of Hockey Canada experience out of anyone. It’ll be an eye-opener.”
Holtby will join Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks), who led Canada to the gold medal in Vancouver in 2010, Carey Price (Montreal Candiens) and Mike Smith (Phoenix Coyotes). Three goalies will make the final roster.
Holtby’s only previous experience on a Canadian national team was in 2007-08 when he played for the under-18 team at the world championships. He appeared in one game. Price played for Canada at the under-18 level and also started at World Juniors (under-20) in 2006-07.
“There’s a lot of goalies to choose from and I’m glad they’re giving me an opportunity to show what I have,” Holtby said. “But at the same time it could be two or three guys who aren’t even going to camp who get to go.”
Holtby won’t hurt for company at the Hockey Canada camp. Washington defensemen Mike Green and Karl Alzner, who both live in the Calgary area, were also invited to the camp. They are two of 17 defensemen. Canada also invited 25 forwards. Green was one of the final cuts before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.