MOUNT PEARL, N.L. — For a second time, Dawson Mercer of Bay Roberts can call himself a world champion.
The young forward recently helped Team Canada earn a gold medal at the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation’s Under-18 World Junior tournament. Canada defeated the Czech Republic 3-1 at the Glacier in Mount Pearl on Sunday, July 8. The team went undefeated at the tournament, which featured seven teams.
Two years ago, Mercer was a member of the under-16 group that claimed a world title in England. That team, which also went undefeated, featured many of the same players who suited up for the under-18 squad earlier this month.
“It’s always an honour to represent your country in any sport or any level, but it was great to keep our win streak going,” Mercer told The Compass over the phone from his family’s home in Bay Roberts.
The last year or so has featured plenty of highlights. He was a first-round draft pick of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Drummondville Voltigeurs in 2017, then went on to make the team in training camp and play a full rookie season in the Q-league. The 16-year-old collected 26 points in 61 regular season games for the Voltigeurs before adding four points in 10 playoff games. Though he is entering his Grade 12 school year in the fall, he will not be eligible for the 2019 NHL draft (his October birthday leaves him just over a month above the cut off).
“First year, a lot of it I looked at as a development year,” he said. “You understand the game a bit more and learn everything you can from the older guys, and I think we had a good group of guys for that. That prepares us for this year with a strong team coming in.”
Last year, he played for one of three Canadian teams at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in British Columbia. Later this month, Mercer will travel to Alberta for a Hockey Canada summer camp of under-18 players. From a group of 44, a team will be selected to represent the country at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, happening this August in Red Deer and Edmonton.
While Mercer believes he has a lot of offensive skills to contribute, he knows the camp is going to be full of great players. He would have no qualms about playing on a third or fourth line to help the team win.
“I’m just going with the mindset to do everything I can to get my name on that roster,” he said. “It would be an honour getting to wear that jersey again for Hockey Canada.”
In anticipation of his big summer and fall, Mercer has continued to train in Quebec, though he did return home for the ball hockey tournament.
“Being a year older and that, I understand what size in the game and strength can do to help your game out, so that’s what I’m looking forward to a lot this summer. What I’ve been working on is my strength and quickness to give me that extra advantage in my game.”