Port Moody and Coquitlam could soon make their mark on one of the biggest stages in junior hockey.
Today (Dec. 1), Kent Johnson and Vincent Iorio were among 35 players invited to Hockey Canada's selection camp, which will decide who will don the maple leaf for the 2022 World Junior Championships.
The tournament is returning to Edmonton for a second straight year as the COVID-19 pandemic prevented fans from attending.
"We know our athletes and staff are ready for a highly competitive selection camp, and we look forward to assembling a group that will wear the Maple Leaf with pride and embrace the opportunity to once again compete in front of fans in Alberta," said Alan Millar, Canada's director of player personnel, in a news release as he selected each player on the roster, including Johnson and Iorio.
Neither player has represented Canada on a major international stage, although Johnson played for Team Canada West in the 2019 World Junior 'A' Challenge when he was a member of the Trail Smoke Eaters.
The Port Moody forward was picked by the Columbus Blue Jackets fifth overall in the 2021 NHL Draft, and since then has lit of the scoreboard south of the border.
With the University of Michigan, he recently became one of the fastest players in Wolverines' men's hockey history to reach 50 career NCAA points.
This includes 13 goals and 37 assists in 32 games.
In his freshman year, Johnson aided Michigan to the 2021 national championship semi-finals — better known as the Frozen Four — but his team was forced to drop out due to several positive tests for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Iorio is the only defenceman from B.C. named to Hockey Canada's world junior selection camp roster.
The Coquitlam product was drafted in the second round, 55th overall by the Washington Capitals this past summer. On Oct. 4, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL club an average annual value of $875,833.
Iorio played in one preseason game on Sept. 29 with the Caps in a 5-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils, logging two hits, a block and nearly 15 minutes of ice time.
Pen to Paper— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 4, 2021
🖋 @viorio14 #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/LaqyjhAYbg
Iorio was assigned back to the Brandon Wheat Kings for his fourth season in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and, as of this publication, has recorded 10 points in 17 games.
In the 2020–21 hub season, he helped the team claim the Subway Cup as winners of the East Division as COVID-19 cancelled a normal season, tallying 12 points in 22 games and registered 53 shots on goal, the most of any other Brandon blue-liner.
Iorio previously played in Minnesota between 2016 and 2018 with the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary's hockey program.
Hockey Canada's World Junior selection camp is scheduled for Dec. 9 to 12 in Calgary.
The 2022 championships begin on Boxing Day (Dec. 26).