COVID slows local Team Canada hopeful

·3 min read

Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald

His trip to his first Canadian junior selection camp was delayed by a few days, but Ridly Greig hopes to be in Red Deer by the end of the week.

The Lethbridge product tested positive for COVID-19 Nov. 8 – according to his agent, Kevin Epp – and has been at home and asymptomatic since then.

But Greig, a forward with the Brandon Wheat Kings, plans to join the Team Canada hopefuls at camp around Sunday when his 14-day quarantine is up to compete for a spot on Team Canada for the 2021 World Junior Championships in Edmonton. “For symptoms, I really don’t have any. I’m maybe a little bit tired,” said Greig, who thinks he tested positive from an on-ice session in Brandon earlier this month. “But mentally I definitely want to get out and do something and see some friends.”

Greig will join Lethbridge Hurricanes captain Dylan Cozens and former Lethbridge Val Matteotti bantam AAA Golden Hawk and current Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram at the camp. Both players were on last year’s gold medal-winning Team Canada squad.

Lethbridge native and Giants head coach Mike Dyck is one of Team Canada’s assistant coaches.

As he gears up to head north, Greig has spent the last two weeks laying low.

“I’ve been trying to Facetime people and talk, playing some video games and watching Nexflix. There’s not much else you can really do,” he said. “I’ve been trying to do as much as I can to stay in shape, obviously I have to prepare myself for camp.”

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of months for the five-foot-11, 162-pound forward who turned 18 in August.

After scoring 26 goals and 60 points in 56 games in his second season in Brandon in 2019-20, Greig was selected in the first round and 28th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the NHL entry draft in early-October.

Team Canada’s selection camp started Monday.

“Obviously it kind of sucks, but there’s nothing I can really do,” said Greig of missing the first few days. “I’m looking forward to getting out there and playing and practising with those guys.”

That also means a chance to pull on a Canadian jersey with Team Canada slated to kick off this year’s tournament Dec. 26 against Germany.

“It’s really exciting and I’m honoured,” said Greig. “Any time you get the chance to put on the Maple Leaf it feels good. To be able to go and try out for the World Juniors all the players and teams I’ve watched in the past during Christmas, it’s definitely exciting.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s World Junior Championship will be played in a bubble in Edmonton.

“It’s going to be pretty cool,” said Greig. “Obviously the World Juniors is going to be unique. To be a part of it going to be pretty special and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

NOTES: Cozens and Kirby Dach sat out Canada’s practice Thursday morning that was scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug via twitter, Cozens and Dach were on the bench by the 11:30 a.m. start time, but Team Canada head coach André Tourigny had already started the group.

The coach chatted with both players and fist bumped them both, but had them leave as Cozens and Dach watched from the stands.

Rishaug said Tourigny later clarified the two had treatment and that’s why they were behind, but stressed there needs to be communication about these things.

The coach also reiterated Cozens and Dach made the choice to “take the hit” and leave, rather than allow the rules to be loosened for them.

Cozens and Dach were the first players on the ice for Thursday night’s practice.

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Dale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald