Dylan Garand represented Kamloops after the Blazers goaltender was selected by team Canada to play in the 2020/2021 World Juniors championships. Garand played one game with four saves for his country.
The back-up goalie reflected on the surreal experience: “Getting the call felt unbelievable. Knowing your about to fulfill one of your dreams is a huge honour and something a lot of people dream of. I was very lucky to get that opportunity,” Garand remarked. “Representing our country was awesome. Getting to be apart of that group was something I’ll never forget. The feeling of being on the ice and knowing millions of people are watching was a super cool experience.”
Garand had an unbelievable season for the Blazers last year after posting record-breaking numbers and was named the WHL scholastic player of the year which is a prestigious award given annually to a player who excels both in the classroom and on the ice.
Despite his impressive accolades, Garand notes the different level of play between the WHL and the World Juniors.
“It was definitely a different transition. Overall, it’s certainly a faster pace than the WHL but we were all off for about 8 months before so the pace seemed a lot faster at the beginning,” Garand admits. “The shooters are better and everything is just a lot quicker so it was definitely cool to have that experience.”
It was not all awe and glory for the Canadian players as most of us know they suffered a gutting 2-0 loss to the U.S.A in the gold medal game. Canada failed to score on their home turf in Edmonton.
“It was pretty emotional after the final game. A lot of tears and emotions coming about,” Garand admitted. “Having to say goodbye to the guys after working so hard to try and win was tough. Coming up just short was heartbreaking and disappointing for sure.”
Garand has a bright future as rumours are already circulating that he will be starting goalie for Canada next year at the World Juniors. He plans to play this upcoming season with the Blazers and is on the radar of most NHL teams. Surely, this won’t be the last we hear of the young all-star goalie.