There will be a Tri-Cities athlete representing Canada on one of the biggest international stages in junior hockey for a second consecutive tournament.
Thomas Milic has been named one of two goaltenders slots for the 2023 World Junior Championships later this month after turning heads at selection camp last weekend.
This will be the Coquitlam product's third stint with a maple leaf on his chest, looking to help Canada repeat gold on home soil.
And, at 19 years old, he would be eligible to return to the team for the 2024 event.
Milic will look to solidify his status as the go-to netminder for Canada at the tournament in Moncton, N.B., and Halifax, N.S., and his recent play in the Western Hockey League (WHL) could make a good case.
The Seattle Thunderbirds player was named the league's goaltender of the week ending Dec. 4, which was days ahead of the selection camp, after earning two wins between the pipes , including a shutout, and a .981 save percentage (SV%).
To date, he's won 11 of his 14 starts in the 2022-23 season, building on last year's breakout campaign that saw Milic lead the T-Birds to the WHL Championship series.
Milic, who's eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft, currently sits in the top 10 in three key stats among WHL goaltenders — .919 SV%, 2.35 goals-against average (GAA) and 11 wins.
In his first full WHL season, Milic compiled a 27-16-2-2 record with Seattle, along with a 2.44 GAA and a .912 SV%.
He'll be partnered with Benjamin Gaudreau for caging duties, with whom he also was a teammate in Texas at the 2021 under-18 men's world championships
Milic is also one of four B.C. players selected to this year's squad in addition to North Vancouver's Connor Bedard, Surrey's Caeden Bankier and Kamloops' Logan Stankoven.
He also joins Kent Johnson as Tri-Cities players who've landed spots on back-to-back world junior Canadian rosters.
The Port Moody product and Columbus Blue Jacket scored the overtime, gold-medal winning goal to help the host country claim gold in Edmonton.
The 2023 championships are scheduled to take place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Moncton, N.B., and Halifax, N.S.
Canada's preliminary campaign is as follows (Pacific time):
- Dec. 26 @ 3:30 p.m. vs. Czechia
- Dec. 28 @ 3:30 p.m. vs. Germany
- Dec. 29 @ 3:30 p.m. vs. Austria
- Dec. 31 @ 3:30 p.m. vs. Sweden