One step closer to potentially playing on the biggest stage of his young career.
Coquitlam's Thomas Milic is one of four goaltenders looking to land a spot on Canada's roster for the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships, and has been invited to the team's selection camp starting Friday (Dec. 9).
The 19-year-old is the second youngest of the bunch, but he's arguably earned at least one of the three slots available based on his current stats in the Western Hockey League (WHL).
He's won 11 of his 14 starts with Seattle in the 2022-23 season thus far, building on last year's breakout campaign that saw Milic lead the Thunderbirds to the WHL Championship series.
"We are excited for Thomas," Seattle general manager Bil La Forge said in a team statement. The T-Birds lost the best-of-seven final in six games to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
"He is a big-game goalie who excelled during the 2021-22 playoff run. He will be a tremendous benefit to Hockey Canada."
Milic, a Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association alum, boasts a .919 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.35 goals-against average (GAA) — the seventh and ninth best among all WHL goaltenders respectively.
In his first full season with the WHL, Milic compiled a 27-16-2-2 record with Seattle, along with a 2.44 GAA and a .912 SV%.
If successful, this would be his third international competition with a Canadian national squad.
In 2021, Milic recorded two wins in two games at the IIHF under-18 men's world championships in Texas, where he suited up with fellow under-20 invitees Tyler Brennan and Benjamin Gaudreau.
The 2023 NHL Draft eligible netminder's debut came with Team Canada Red at the 2020 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. A year earlier, he was a member of Team BC at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Milic's selection camp trip comes more than four months after receiving an invitation to Canada's summer development camp, which kickstarted the search for the next world junior squad.
He's also one of five players from B.C. that have been invited to Canada's world junior selection camp, which runs from Dec. 9 to 12.
The 2023 championships are scheduled to take place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Moncton, N.B., and Halifax, N.S.