‘It’s super-surreal’: Davidson’s Allan makes Canada’s world junior team

‘It’s super-surreal’: Davidson’s Allan makes Canada’s world junior team

Nolan Allan has worn the maple leaf before, but this time it will be a special one.

The Davidson-born defenseman was called up to Canada’s team for the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships. He previously played for Canada at the U18 World Tournament and won gold.

“It’s super surreal. It’s always an honor to represent your country and this is a tournament every kid grows up in so I’m really excited to be here,” 19-year-old Allan told Green Zone on Friday.

“This is probably the biggest Hockey Canada tournament there is. It is something very special to spend Christmas here and to make this dream come true.”

Canada opens the tournament on Monday against the Czech Republic. The 2023 event will be held in Moncton and Halifax.

Allan is one of two Saskatchewan-born players to make the team this time. He will be joined by Saskatoon product Kevin Korchinski, who is a defensive tackle – and Allan’s teammate – with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Regina Pats forward Connor Bedard was the only player from a Saskatchewan WHL team to make Team Canada.

“The cutdown day is the most nerve-wracking. Other days you just play your game and do the things you do on the ice,” Allan said. “It was kind of weird. The guys being cut knocked on the door. You didn’t want a knock on the door, but you did want one later. It was a different experience.

“The coach came over and knocked on the door of me and my roommate – Olen Zellweger – and Zellweger is a returnee but he let me know I made the team. It’s just relief and excitement – excited to get started and super happy and excited to get the tournament going.”

Allan said the first person he called was his brother, followed by his parents.

“These are pretty special and important people in my life, so those were the first people I spoke to,” Allan said.

Now that selection camp is over, Allan can take a breather after a busy month for the former Prince Albert Raiders captain. Allan was traded from the Raiders to the Thunderbirds on November 16.

“It was a whirlwind being traded from Prince Albert and moving to Seattle and settling in with the team and then going to (selection) camp about two weeks later. It’s a bit of a whirlwind but it passed quickly and I enjoyed it,” said Allan.

“I played a good chunk of four years (at Prince Albert) so it was difficult to say goodbye to some of the guys on the team, coaching staff and quarters, but on the other hand it’s super exciting to join one teams like Seattle can and have a good chance of running for the championship this year.

“It’s a huge compliment to know that a team wants you and that you’re going to be a big part of what we hope will be a Memorial Cup team. It’s a great honor.”

But for now, Allan will try to help the Canadians repeat themselves as gold medalists at the World Junior Championships.

With the talent on the team like Bedard, who is expected to be the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft, and the players who have been sent back from their NHL teams – Dylan Guenther (Arizona Coyotes), Brandt Clark (Los Angeles Kings) and Shane Wright (Seattle Kraken) – Allan believes Canada has the talent.

“It’s unreal. We’ve got a couple of guys here that are going to be drafting big and are going to bring the NHL boys back, we’ve got a pretty good group here. We have some high expectations,” Allan said.

“It’s crazy to watch some of the moves these guys pull off. When they fall on you, you just hope you don’t get embarrassed. It’s crazy how much skill we have here and the way they work together makes it even better.

“Rather than seeing it on Boxing Day this year, you get to play in it, so it’s very special and I can’t wait to get those games up and running before the tournament.”

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