Frank Corrado gave it all he had and proved to everyone he is among Canada’s elite junior hockey players.
The Vancouver Canucks prospect fell just short of representing Canada at the upcoming World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. After an impressive showing at the selection camp, Corrado was one of eight players cut by Team Canada last Thursday, the final day of cuts, in what was perhaps the most surprising roster move of the day.
Corrado played four games in front of Team Canada head coach Steve Spott, the first being the Subway Super Series game against the Russian Selects in November where the 19-year-old scored the game-winner. That game solidified an invite to the Team Canada selection camp held in Calgary this past week, an invite that not even Corrado himself was expecting.
“It was never in the back of my mind,” said Corrado. “I never thought I would get an invite at all because I never played under-17, under-18 or anything like that.
“I tried out for under-17 and never made it and under-18 I wasn’t even invited.”
While in Calgary, Corrado impressed with his steady two-way game; he scored the game-winner for Team Red in the Red versus White intra-squad game to kick off the camp. He followed that up with the lone-goal for Canada in an exhibition game between Team Canada hopefuls and the University of Alberta.
However on Thursday Corrado got the call to pack his things and meet with coaching staff where he was informed by Spott he wouldn’t be one of the 23 players heading to Russia for the holidays.
“He (Spott) said tough decisions need to be made and obviously it was a tough decision,” said Corrado. “He told me I had a good camp and he said some nice things about where I might be headed in the future, but ultimately I wouldn’t be going to Russia with them. I felt like I had a good camp and a good showing and I did everything I could, obviously what they do with who they pick is out of my control, but with everything I could control, I did what I could. No regrets that way.
“I thought if I got the invite I could push my way onto the team somehow, I thought I played well enough to maybe do that, but ultimately that wasn’t the result.”
One thing Corrado can take out of the experience is his ability to play with the elite players in his age group, something he feels will give him some added poise.
“I learned that I can play with the best players in the country. It’s a very competitive camp and I was able to play well and play against the best players. If anything I have more confidence in myself coming out of the camp.”
Corrado admits watching Team Canada compete in Russia in the upcoming weeks may be tough for him knowing how close he came to being a part of the squad that will be embraced by the entire country for two weeks.
”It’s always tough to watch something like that when you know you might have been on that team. I wish them nothing but the best and I hope they represent our country well and hopefully bring home the gold.”
Corrado now returns to Sudbury where he will resume his role as team captain of the Wolves; he has been stellar so far with 24 points (4-20-24) in 33 games in what should be his final-season in the Ontario Hockey League.
Prior to the season, the Woodbridge, Ontario, native hoped to add an offensive element to his rock-solid defensive game, and he has done just that. In October he went on a scoring-tear he hasn’t experienced since playing house-league hockey when he was seven-years-old. Corrado racked up 10 points (1-9-10) in five games, including a five-point night on October 26th against the Niagara IceDogs, which earned the six-foot defenseman Player of the Week honors in the Ontario Hockey League as well as being named OHL Defenseman of the Month.
“I was just getting the bounces, everything was clicking,” said Corrado. “I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary, I was just playing my game and sticking to my game-plan like I always do and was getting some good bounces. I was really happy with the month I had, it was one of those months that everything just went my way.”
With a resume that reads: Most Outstanding Defenseman nomination, Defenseman of the Month, Player of the Week, Gold Medal at the World Junior Club Cup, All-Star team, World Juniors invite and captain of his team, there isn’t a whole lot Corrado hasn’t accomplished in his junior hockey career, however there is one thing missing from that list of accolades, and he is setting his sights on it next.
”It has been a good ride playing junior but I think there is one thing left and that is to win. Obviously I want to do that with Sudbury first and foremost.
“I want to make some noise with Sudbury going forward.”