Orillia’s Colby Barlow is representing Canada at the 2023 Ice Hockey U18 World Championships in Switzerland.
The tournament marks the first time the 18-year-old left-winger has played in Europe. He says it’s been an eye-opening experience for him.
“It’s different,” he said. “It’s a different way of living over here, it’s been a really cool experience.”
Off the ice, Barlow had to adapt to the six-hour time difference and a major language barrier. On the ice, he is adapting to the Olympic-sized rink and rules.
“After a couple of skates, you are pretty much used to it,” he said. “There is more ice to use which leaves less time to close in on guys, making it nice for the skill guys who are nifty and like to move the puck.”
While Barlow has represented Canada on the international stage before, this time he is doing so as an assistant captain.
“It’s always a huge honour to play for your country,” he said. “To be named a captain of the team makes it even more special.”
With the NHL Draft coming up on June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Barlow knows scouts are keeping a close eye on him during the tournament. The NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters have Barlow ranked at 12.
“There are a lot of people watching,” he said. “It’s kind of the last showing before the draft at the competition level, which makes it an exciting tournament.”
Despite understanding the implications of his play at the tournament, Barlow says he’s not focused on his draft stock.
“I’m focused on helping our team win the tournament,” he said. “I’m not really worried about my draft stock going up or down, I’m just taking it game by game.”
Despite Team Canada losing their first game of the tournament this morning 8-0 to Sweden, Barlow is confident his team will bounce back.
“We have a great team,” he said. “I believe that if we stick together and play the way we can, we have a good shot at winning this tournament.”
Team Canada will return to the ice Friday morning to take on Germany. You can watch it on TSN4.
Barlow, who was the youngest player ever named captain of the Owen Sound Attack, is coming off a strong second year in the OHL. He finished fifth in league goal scoring with 46 goals in 59 regular season games. Unfortunately, the Attack was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the London Knights.
“It was a successful season,” he said. “Being swept in the first round was pretty disappointing for us, but it leaves us wanting more for next year.”