Going up against the best of the world
AMHERST - For many young players, the 2008 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge is a stepping stone to bigger things.
For rookie Amherst Rambler forward Jordan Escott playing in the world tournament in London, Ont. during the Christmas holiday will be a chance to be noticed by NCAA and NHL scouts.
"It's one of the best feelings I've ever had. Any chance you can get to wear the Team Canada colours and represent your region is a pretty big honour," Escott said. "It's going to be really special to play against Team Russia and other teams."
Escott, who played midget hockey in Toronto last season, attended a tryout camp in Newfoundland before being called back to an Atlantic camp earlier this year. He learned Nov. 22 that he made the team.
It will also be a chance to follow in his brother's footsteps.
Colin Escott was a member of the 2005 Team Atlantic, scoring two goals and adding two assists in five games in Regina, Sask. and he's already giving advice to his 16-year-old younger brother.
"My brother made it in his year and he's been telling me all about it," Escott said, adding his brother has helped out a lot in hockey and helped guide him to the Ramblers. "He said it was the best experience he ever had. It's a first class experience with the best players in the world. You see where you stand."
The St. John's, N.L. native hopes to provide some offence to the team and take care of his own end of the rink.
The team travels to London on Boxing Day and faces Slovakia in an exhibition game on Dec. 28. They open the tourney on Dec. 29 against Team USA. They also play Team West, Russia and Germany.
Escott burned up the preseason for the Ramblers but was forced to sit on the sidelines while the league and Hockey Canada made a decision on his eligibility as a 16-year-old. Sitting out left him a little rusty when he came back, but he's again starting to find his offensive touch scoring twice against Charlottetown on Sunday.
"The last two games I picked it up and am hitting my stride again. It took me a few games to get going again after missing the first six games," Escott said.
Rambler coach Corey Crocker couldn't be happier for his rookie forward, who he drafted with the club's first pick last spring.
"It's great for our program and great for him because the players who make that team are so much on the radar for the rest of their junior careers. I'm so happy for Jordan and I know he's going to represent the organization well," Crocker said. "He deserves everything he gets."
Crocker feels he's going to be the cornerstone of the franchise for several years.