Garlent enjoying experience as a member of Canada’s under-18 squad

By Jeff Blay, Thorold Niagara News

Hunter Garlent usually adheres to school rules that forbid the use of cellphones in class, but he didn’t hesitate to make an exception last week.

While sitting at his desk at Dennis Morris high school in St. Catharines, where he just recently resumed classes after the Guelph Storm was eliminated from the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, the Thorold native received a call from a number he suspected belonged to Hockey Canada.

“I felt my phone going off and I kind of snuck it out of my pocket, because obviously they’re not allowed (in class),” Garlent jokingly told the Thorold Niagara News. “I noticed it was a 403 number, which I know is Hockey Canada, so I ran right out of class and answered it.”

His suspicions were quickly confirmed – the call summoned him to Toronto that day to catch a plane to Sochi, Russia to join Team Canada as it competes for gold at the 2013 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.

“It was pretty hectic,” he said of the way things unfolded. “I went back into class, grabbed my bag, got everything packed up and I was in Toronto a couple hours later. I was going crazy.

“Obviously any time you get to put on the Canada jersey, it’s a huge honour.”

After a whirlwind of a week, Garlent and the squad officially opened the tournament on Thursday against Slovakia, where they won by a commanding 4-1 score.

Although Garlent didn’t make the shortsheet in the opening game, he did play a key role on Canada’s penalty kill in addition to throwing some big hits. Points or not, he was just happy the team started the tournament on a high note.

“It’s always great to get the first win, but there’s six more to go, so we just have to keep rolling,” Garlent said via phone from Sochi following the win. “A big message in the room is out-will and outwork our opponents, so we’re just coming out hard every shift. That’s how the Canadians play – physical and ready to go.

“It’s a great experience and we’re all just excited every time we get on the ice.”

While Garlent seems to be quickly settling into his role on the team, his road to the under-18’s has been nothing short of a rollercoaster.

After being cut from the Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team that won gold at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia last summer, he suffered an ankle injury midway through the OHL season – and in his NHL draft year, to boot.

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