Orillia's Colby Barlow, an emerging young star in the Ontario Hockey League, helped Team Canada skate to a gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer, Alberta last week.
Barlow, 17, received a coveted invite to try out for Team Canada last month in Calgary.
“I was working hard towards it,” Barlow said. “It was a goal of mine to make the team.”
When the rugged right winger was told he was successful, he was overjoyed.
“It’s definitely a massive honour and a privilege to put on that jersey and play for our country," Barlow said.
Team Canada went undefeated in the tournament, defeating Sweden in the finals 4-1. It's the first time Canada has captured the Hlinka Gretzky Cup since 2018.
Capturing gold was a “crazy feeling,” says the former North Central Predator AAA standout.
“Once you get down to those final few minutes you find yourself watching the clock and you just want it to go faster,” Barlow said. “I was really excited to get the gold medal and raise the trophy as a team.”
Barlow says being surrounded by the best players in the world in his age group was a great experience.
“It was good to see how I’m developing,” he said. “I learned a lot from my teammates throughout the whole experience.”
Barlow netted two goals and added four assists in the five games played. He says the tournament helped him get one step closer to being drafted into the NHL in the spring.
“I’m on the right track,” he said. “I need to keep working hard, stay humble, and keep doing all the right things to get to that end goal.”
Barlow now turns his focus to his second year with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL.
After being selected with the eighth overall pick in the draft in June of 2021, Barlow had a stellar rookie campaign, scoring 30 goals and adding 17 assists in 59 games. He broke Owen Sound's record for goals by a 16-year-old previously shared by NHL star Bobby Ryan and Daniel Sisca.
“We have a special group,” he said. “My goal is to do the best I can for my teammates to help us win.”
Barlow thanks his family, friends, teammates, and coaches for helping him along his hockey journey. He gave a special shout-out to the Bertucci family and Andy Long, who have sponsored him on his journey, along with Tony and Kimmie Schwehr and Mike and Debbie Knight in addition to family friends for their support.