Fonstad called to national team

Cole Fonstad, pictured in action during the 2017-18 WHL season, has been selected to represent Canada at the U18 World Junior Championships in Russia. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald.

Cole Fonstad’s season isn’t finished.

On Thursday, Hockey Canada tapped the Prince Albert Raider forward for a spot on Canada’s U18 team, which travels to Russia for the U18 World Championships later this month.

It’s the first time Fonstad will represent Canada at the international level, and the Estevan product is eager to make sure it doesn’t go to waste.

“It’s been pretty stressful actually, but it’s really exciting at the same time,” he chuckled during an interview on Thursday. “I haven’t really had a chance to represent Canada before. It’s a new opportunity for me and I’m really excited.”

Fonstad said there was no hesitation in his decision to join the squad once the Raiders were knocked out of the WHL playoffs. After watching plenty of World Junior and Olympic tournaments as a kid, he jumped at the chance to compete in the international spotlight. He’ll join up with the squad for a brief three-day training camp in Etobicoke, Ont. before heading to Russia for a tough opening game against the United States on April 19.

“Hopefully I can go there and do my thing and have a good tournament,” he said. “Hopefully we can bring back a gold medal and just have fun.”

Fonstand was one of the more potent Raider scorers during the post-season, wracking up four goals in the opening round series with the Moose Jaw Warriors. He’ll be looking to continue that strong form in Russia, and he’s confident the foundation he laid in Prince Albert will serve him well.

“I just tried to stay consistent throughout the year and just improve every day, come to the rink with a good attitude and work hard,” he said. “I knew that one day my opportunity would come if I kept up a good attitude and stayed positive and just controlled what I could control.”

Sweden, Switzerland and Belarus will join Canada and the U.S. in Pool A at the U18 Championship. Finland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, France and the hosts from Russia will round out Pool B. The tournament runs from April 19-29 in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, Russia. All of Canada’s games will be broadcast on TSN.

@kerr_jas •