Written By: Rory McGouran
Humboldt Broncos own Matthew Van Blaricom has been selected to represent his country and will don the maple leaf on his jersey at the upcoming World Jr. A Challenge,
Van Blaricom has been named as one of 22 players on Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Truro, NS taking place from December 10th – 17th.
“It’s a huge honour to represent my country and a dream of mine for as long as I can remember,” said Van Blaricom. “When you put that jersey on, you don’t just represent your city and your team, but now your whole country, and nothing is more meaningful than that.”
Van Blaricom was drafted by the Humboldt Broncos 6th overall in the 2022 SJHL Draft. He has since become one of the premier players in the province, leading the Broncos with 31 points in just 20 games this season. To make matters even more impressive, the Southy, SK native is also turning heads at just 17-years old and is the youngest player in the top-10 of SJHL scoring.
Van Blaricom has dedicated the past few years to growing his game with his high-end work ethic, continuing to elevate his status, and was named on NHL’s Central Scouting Rankings for the 2024 NHL draft.
“I’ve just been trying to get better every day, focusing on the little details in my game and the things that I can control and improve on. Playing for the Broncos has taught me the love of putting in the work everyday and it’s given me the confidence to push my game to another level, along with playing for Scott Barney who has helped me grow as a player and a person,” addend Van Blaricom.
Broncos Head Coach, Barney, has witnessed Van Blaricom’s evolution as a player and will also coach him at the World Jr. A Challenge as Team Canada West’s Head Coach.
“Matthew’s work ethic on and off the ice is the major reason for his success. He’s driven to be the hardest player to play against every time he’s on the ice. That, paired with his speed, his strength and his immense skill makes him a very dangerous player. Every time he steps on the ice he is going up against the best defenders and best forwards on the opposition team, and he feeds off that. His body language, and work ethic is what separates him from good to elite in our league,” said Barney.
Team Canada West will head to Truro, NS a few days prior to the start of the tournament. They will only have a couple ice times to acclimate to their teammates and systems, before taking on the United States in an exhibition match. The States are one of the top ranked teams in the world, which is a challenge Van Blaricom is relishing.
“This is definitely a huge opportunity for me to showcase my skill and to test myself against the best competition at this level in the world. These are the moments you’ve worked for, so the excitement I have to play in this tournament won’t go away any time soon.”
Van Blaricom and Team Canada West will open up the tournament against Sweden on December 10th.