" That helped me out and made me a stronger person," said Bernard-Docker, a native of Canmore, Alta." The WHL's a terrific league, but I selected college since of the longer advancement and being in the health club a little bit more," Bernard-Docker stated." I truthfully can't describe it," Bernard-Docker said of playing in Grand Forks." A gamer that's taken steps and developed," Hockey Canada head scout Brad McEwen said of Bernard-Docker before this year's under-20 event."We have not made it yet, however for sure it's something you talk about a little bit," Bernard-Docker stated.
It was a knock on the door no player wants.
" It absolutely got me better."
Selected 26th overall by the Ottawa Senators at the 2018 NHL draft, he took another huge action this fall in his second season at the University of North Dakota to propel himself into being basically a lock to make Canada's team for the 2020 world junior hockey champion.
After putting up 17 points in 36 games as a freshman with the Fighting Hawks, Bernard-Docker already has three goals and 11 assists in 17 trips in 2019-20.
" He was a fantastic player last and is this year also," stated fellow Canadian blue-liner Ty Smith, who's known his world junior teammate given that small hockey. "He's playing some huge minutes at North Dakota. It's certainly excellent to see."
A various course
Bernard-Docker is known for clean breakout passes and has a good shot from the point, but the six-foot-one, 180-pound blue-liner's video game is more about closing down challengers.
" He reads the play really well, he can skate really well," stated Canadian assistant Andre Tourigny, who's also head coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's. "He's very smart, he's always in excellent position, and he's proud to defend."
Unlike the rest of his teammates in the Czech Republic, where Canada can clinch initially in Group B with a victory over the host nation on Tuesday, Bernard-Docker took a various path to get here.
Selected in the 5th round of the 2015 WHL draft by the Swift Current Broncos, he instead selected to go to Calgary's Edge School for Athletes before joining the Okotoks Oilers of the second-tier Alberta Junior Hockey League for the 2016-17 season in order to keep his NCAA eligibility.
" The WHL's a terrific league, but I picked college since of the longer advancement and being in the gym a bit more," Bernard-Docker stated. "I chose to go to Okotoks since I had a pretty great relationship with the coach there. It really helped me make that next step to North Dakota."
And he's caring life at a school that's produced a host of NHLers, including Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Brock Boeser.
" I truthfully can't explain it," Bernard-Docker stated of playing in Grand Forks. "It's one of those things you've got to do understand. It's actually like no other."
' An outstanding boy'
But before heading to North Dakota, he was prepared by Ottawa-- his favourite NHL group growing up-- and was thrown into the deep end at development camp in summer of 2018.
It was a battle at first, particularly coming directly out of junior A, but a great initiation to the expert video game that assisted set him up for his very first college season and that very first effort at making Canada's junior group.
"A remarkable young male," included Mark Hunter, Canada's basic manager.
North Dakota colleague Shane Pinto, a 2019 second-round choice by the Senators betting the United States at the world juniors, stated Bernard-Docker's grace stands apart.
"He's really fully grown in his video game," said the centre. "He's simply truly fun to see. He's a great skater. He's simply an all-around excellent gamer."
Bernard-Docker stated the reality he and Pinto play together in college and are both Ottawa draft chooses has produced some intriguing chats about a prospective side-by-side NHL future.
"We have not made it yet, however for sure it's something you talk about a little bit," Bernard-Docker said. "That's something we wish to do one day ... we've simply got to keep working."
He's had various discussions with his Canadian teammates because the group came together 3 weeks back-- about his decision to skip major junior for college hockey.
"They don't truly understand it, I don't think," he said with a smile. "Their path worked out for them, my path's exercised for me and we've satisfied here.
"We're simply attempting to end up being a team no matter where we're from."