Brandon Gormley remembers vividly getting cut by Team Canada at the junior selection camp in December of 2009.
"I was rooming with [goalie] Jake Allen and as soon as the phone rang I knew it wasn't the wake-up call and I knew he was pretty safe so ... it was a tough one to get."
Gormley told himself that the experience would only make him stronger for the next camp. And last year the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Moncton Wildcats defenceman seemed destined to make the team before a knee injury ended that dream. He could only watch as Canada blew a three-goal lead and lost the gold-medal game to Russia.
"I watched every game last year, yeah, it wasn't fun at all," the Phoenix Coyotes prospect said. "You know most of the guys out there and you see what they went through and you want to be out there helping them and you feel pretty hopeless and pretty useless sitting at home.
"It was heartbreaking."
Gormley, a native of Murray River, Prince Edward Island, won't have to go through that again this year. Finally, on Wednesday, he was named to the Canadian junior team.
"It's a dream come true. I couldn't be happier.
"It's definitely been a long road to crack this team."
NEVER IN DOUBT
Gormley's spot on the 22-man roster never seemed to be in doubt during the camp.
"He's just steady," said Kevin Prendergast, the national team's head scout. "He's such a great skater. He can control the game, he keeps his game simple, he doesn't get into a lot of trouble. He's able to rush the puck, probably would have made our team last year if he didn't get hurt so I think this is a little bit of vindication for him."
"His poise with the puck is so impressive," said Saint John Sea Dogs forward Zack Phillips, who was cut on Tuesday. "His first pass is always right on the tape. Also his defensive play, he can be a shutdown guy too. He's just a really good all-around player and works hard all the time."
Gormley has 10 goals and 17 assists in 26 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season.
"He's very intelligent with the puck," said Sea Dogs forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who was also named to the Canadian team on Wednesday. "It will be nice not having to play against him for a change."
With only four players returning from last year's team and none on defence, Gormley believes he could take on a leadership role.
"We'll see what happens in the coming days with what the coaches decide. No matter what happens, I think with the experience of a camp already [in 2009] and with not too many guys coming back from last year, I think I could definitely take on a role like that."
And even though the 19-year-old was not on the team last season, Gormley has embraced the redemption storyline.
"I think every Canadian does," he said. "It's more than just the players playing. I think the whole country really gets behind all the guys here and I think the fans want redemption just as much as we do."