Scott Harrington will play a key role on Canada's world junior hockey team during the next few weeks. He is considered one of the team's top shutdown defencemen and on Thursday was named an alternate captain.
And, yet, the London Knight spent most of the selection camp in the shadows.
Last year, he received the fewest media requests at the selection camp before making the team and then, finally, getting some love from the reporters on site. This year, you would think, would have been different considering Harrington's status as one of two returning blueliners. But Harrington, a quiet guy on and off the ice, was once again left mostly alone.
"I wasn't looking forward to having an abundance of interviews so it doesn't bother me at all," said the native of Kingston, Ont. "It's kind of funny. We joked about it yesterday. I think I had a couple more than last year. Last year I was shutout completely. It was funny last year and it's good that the joke continued this year."
One of the reasons Harrington did not get many requests was because his spot on the team was assured coming in. He only played one game, on Tuesday, and spent the rest of the camp watching other players battle it out for the precious few roster spots up for grabs.
"I didn't know I'd be sitting out for the last two days, but we still got on the ice and practised in the morning before the games, but definitely different from last year when I played every game," said Harrington. "This was a bit of a blessing that I didn't have to play so I could save the legs a little bit. It's been a busy month in London."
A busy and wildly-successful month. London has won 18 straight games and will try and break the franchise record for consecutive victories when they face the Owen Sound Attack on Friday night. Harrington will be monitoring the game closely from Calgary where Canada will practice on Saturday morning before hopping a plane to Europe.
"I don't know if I can watch it," he said. "I'll for sure be refreshing the OHL website. I've already talked to some of the guys today and it's been special the last month and I think our team has really bonded well together. Winning 18 straight is, I don't think, something any of us dreamed of. It's difficult to do, especially in the OHL and the conference we're win. Hopefully the guys can pull it off tonight."
Harrington is London's captain this season and that experience should help him with his leadership role on Team Canada.
"He's starting to understand the times that he needs to say something and the times he doesn't need to say something," said Knights assistant GM Rob Simpson earlier this month. "In the dressing room you won't hear much from him, but at key points, like going into the third period [in a tie game], we need a little bit of inspiration, he won't say a lot, but a sentence or two here and the guys really respect that and everyone in the dressing room will kind of perk up and be ready to go after that."
Harrington is remaining humble despite his new leadership role both in London and with Team Canada.
"It's a huge honour to represent some of my teammates and to be the defenceman wearing the 'A' is pretty special," he said, "obviously there are a lot of guys on this team that wear letters and are captains on their club teams so to be chosen out of the group of them is pretty special."