More Tri-City hockey players have caught the eye of the country's top coaches and scouts with the potential to wear the maple leaf for the first time last this year.
Today (July 21), Kent Johnson and Vincent Iorio were among 51 players — six from B.C. — invited to train and develop at Hockey Canada's summer camp for its national under-20 team.
Both players are now on a path that could see one or both of them potentially cracking the roster for the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton and Red Deer.
Johnson turned some heads south of the border this past year at the University of Michigan.
The Port Moody product's breakout performance included 27 points in 26 games — nine goals and 18 assists — and a +16 rating, which earned him props by the Big Ten Conference of the NCAA Division One hockey.
The 18-year-old forward was named to the conference all-freshman team after posting the second-highest points among rookies in the Big Ten and of all players on his Wolverines' squad.
Michigan made it to the NCAA Frozen Four tournament, but was forced to drop out because of public health protocols after positive test results for COVID-19.
Before his collegiate career took off, Johnson played two seasons in the BCHL with the Trail Smoke Eaters combining for 147 points in 111 career games, including 101 in 52 games during the 2019-20 campaign.
He's represented Canada once before on its "west" team at the 2019 World Junior 'A' Challenge.
Iorio stood tall during the Western Hockey League's (WHL) hub season earlier this year.
The Coquitlam defenceman completed his third season with the Brandon Wheat Kings by helping the team claim the Subway Cup as winners of the East Division as COVID-19 cancelled a normal season.
He tallied 12 points in 22 games and registered 53 shots on goal, the most of any other Brandon blue-liner.
Like Johnson, the 18-year-old spent one season with Burnaby Winter Club before pursuing his hockey dreams elsewhere.
Iorio ended up in Minnesota between 2016 and 2018 with Shattuck St. Mary's hockey program.
He's the only B.C. defenceman selected to the junior team camp this month, and has yet to represent Canada on any major international stage
Both Johnson and Iorio are eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft, which begins tomorrow (July 23).
Hockey Canada's national junior team summer development camp is scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 4, 2021, at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut'ina Nation near Calgary.
The two also join Port Moody's Jenna Buglioni and Coquitlam's Jordan Baxter on Hockey Canada's radar as both were also invited to the national women's and national women's under-18 summer camps respectively.