The entire Prince Albert Mintos organization is eager to see a former goaltender suit up for Team Canada at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship (WJHC).
Connor Ingram, 19, from Imperial, Sask., was a member of the Mintos in 2014 when they captured the Telus Cup – Canada’s national midget hockey championship. That is the biggest stage for a triple A player and current Mintos head coach Ken Morrison said that is an environment Ingram thrives in.
“He’s a gamer, the bigger the game the better he’ll play,” explained Morrison, who coached Ingram during the championship run in 2014.
Ingram, who currently plays for the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Kamloops Blazers, will share the net with Carter Hart, a member of the Everett Silvertips.
Heading into the WHL’s Christmas break, Ingram sits third in the league in goals against average, first in save percentage, ninth in wins and second in shutouts.
The WJHC is the ultimate stage for junior hockey players in Canada, and the lights become brighter when the tournament is held on home soil. This year’s event is taking place in Toronto and Montreal.
Morrison believes Ingram is up for the challenge.
“It is a lot of pressure but I think he’s got the right attitude, he’s kind of a happy-go-lucky guy, nothing really seems to faze him.”
That type of mindset will be necessary as millions of Canadian fans hope and cheer for a better outcome for the red-and-white after finishing without a medal at last year’s event.
Morrison added the entire Mintos organization will be rooting for Ingram.
Also watching Ingram’s performance will be the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. The Saskatchewan product was taken in the third round (88th overall) by the club in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Team Canada opens the tournament against Russia at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Dec. 26. A starting goaltender for that matchup has not been named yet.