Chilliwack Chiefs grad Dennis Cholowski traveled to Michigan last week to skate with Team Canada hopefuls.
Forty two U-20 players hoping to represent their country in the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, NY., hit the ice in Plymouth for a summer development camp.
Team Canada’s best faced off against international competition, playing exhibition matches against the United States, Finland and Sweden.
Cholowski was in the lineup Aug. 1, suiting up for Team Canada Red in an 8-2 loss to United States White. Wearing No. 5, the defenceman picked up an assist on a power play goal by Brett Howden.
From the right point Cholowski hammered a one-timer on net off a pass from David Queenville.
Howden got his stick on the puck, re-directing it past the American goalie.
Cholowski didn’t make the roster for the final three Team Canada games, but did enough in limited action to impress Detroit Red Wings assistant general manager Kris Draper.
The Wings drafted Cholowski in the first round, 20th overall, in the 2016 National Hockey League entry draft.
“The thing that you love about Dennis is he’s put on almost 20 pounds since we drafted him,” Draper told NHL.com. “That was the one thing we said, he has to get bigger and stronger, he’s doing that. This is really his first taste of playing this kind of hockey.”
Because he didn’t make the Canadian roster for the final three games of the Showcase, Cholowski would be a long-shot to play in Buffalo this winter.
But Draper doesn’t view that as a negative.
“He went from playing in the BC junior league to playing college hockey last year,” the former NHL player noted. “Now he’s right in the mix with obviously the top Canadian and the top US players. It’s good for him.”
Cholowski made his pro debut late last year, leaving the NCAA’s St. Cloud State Huskies to sign with the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins. He got into one regular season game late in the 2016-17 campaign and practiced with the team through a long playoff run that culminated in a Calder Cup championship.
Cholowski played 106 regular season and 32 playoff games for Chilliwack from 2013-16.
See hockeycanada.ca for more.