A pair of Tri-City hockey players making headlines in Europe will soon head to China in hopes of bringing home Olympic gold.
Ben Street and Adam Tambellini have been selected to play for Canada at the Beijing 2022 winter games — two of 25 chosen from various professional and collegiate levels around the world.
Meanwhile, current NCAA rising star Kent Johnson has been listed to a reserve squad for the Canadians.
The Port Moody product recently suited up with the 2022 World Junior squad.
On Dec. 21, the door opened for the local skaters after NHL players backed out of potentially returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2014, citing health and scheduling concerns should one test positive for COVID-19.
Street is one of the older members of the Canadian Olympic men's team at 34 years old, but don't let the age fool you.
The Coquitlam left-winger has 31 points in 30 games with the Munich Red Bulls in Germany's top level of professional hockey.
That's the fifth highest among his teammates, and includes 13 goals, 17 assists and a +14 rating.
Throughout his busy career — which has left an extensive résumé that has brought him to his Olympic debut — Street has only received two calls to play for his country, totalling eight games.
In 2003-04, he earned a silver medal with Canada Pacific at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Since then, Street has gone on to play 59 NHL games between five different clubs (Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, Anaheim and New Jersey). He tallied nine points in the process.
He won the AHL's Calder Cup in 2017 with the Grand Rapids Griffins, an NCAA Div. I championship with the University of Wisconsin in 2006 and he's been the captain for three different clubs.
He began his hockey dreams with Burnaby Winter Club before going to the BC Hockey League with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
Tambellini has stickhandled in seven games for Canada, including four tilts in 2019 when he helped a national team comprised of players toiling in Europe claim the Spengler Cup in Switzerland. The 27-year-old from Port Moody contributed three assists.
Tambellini was taken in the third round — 65th overall — of the 2013 NHL draft by the New York Rangers. But he has yet to skate on NHL ice.
Instead, Tambellini has been lighting up the boards of the Swedish Hockey League with Rogle BK Angelholm, accumulating 35 points in 32 games so far this season, including 18 goals and 17 assists.
Last year as a rookie, he helped Rogle claim the 2020-21 silver medal with a total of 28 points in 37 regular-season games, plus 10 more in the playoffs.
Before heading to Europe, Tambellini played four seasons in the American Hockey League — one step below the NHL — amassing 131 points in 283 career games with the Hartford Wolf Pack and Belleville Senators.
Tambellini played two seasons in the WHL after playing two in the BCHL, where he won the provincial junior 'A' championship with the Surrey Eagles in 2013.
He's the brother of Jeff Tambellini, who played several seasons with various NHL and European teams and is now working in the front office of the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning.
Their dad is former NHL player and executive Steve Tambellini, who's now a scout for the Anaheim Ducks.
Johnson is currently listed as reserve squad member for Canada's 2022 Olympic hockey team, meaning he could step in if someone gets injured or otherwise can't participate in the tournament.
The 19-year-old Port Moody native scored one goal and played two games for Canada at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton before the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kent Johnson’s 1st 🇨🇦 WJHC goal — a power-play rocket on a tic-tac-toe sequence — opened what would be a dominant scoring performance in a 11-2 win vs. 🇦🇹 The Port Moody product’s marker was 5:08 into the contest | #PortMoody #WorldJuniors @TriCityNews pic.twitter.com/27Fk2y7qKE— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) December 29, 2021
Johnson was taken fifth overall in the 2021 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets this past summer.
Since then, the former Port Moody Minor Hockey Association member has been a standout in the NCAA combining for 30 points in 23 games in his sophomore season with the University of Michigan.
That's the third-highest number of points on the team.
In 2019, Johnson played for Team Canada West at the World Junior 'A' Challenge in Dawson Creek, B.C., where he recorded two points in four games.
Before joining the college ranks, he lit up the board in the BCHL with the Trail Smoke Eaters, combining for 147 points in 111 career games.
Johnson was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award on Jan. 12 — given to the best player in NCAA Div. I hockey who "exhibits strength of character both on and off the ice" and "contributes to the integrity of the team and displays outstanding skills in all phases of the game."
A fan vote is being conducted by the committee until March 6, then a list of 10 finalists will be revealed.
Men's hockey at Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is scheduled to take place between Feb. 9 and 20.
Canada's schedule is as follows:
- Feb. 1 vs. Switzerland (Exhibition)
- Feb. 7 vs. United States (Exhibition)
- Feb. 10 vs. Germany
- Feb. 11 vs. United States
- Feb. 13 vs. China
The Canadian men are the reigning bronze medallists from the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.