It's not too often we sit around getting mushy-eyed about a Flames prospect who's only just signed his Entry Level Contract, but this story by Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald merits it.
The middle child born to a single mother, Michael grew up playing hockey with cousins Dustin and Darnell at the outdoor rink a couple blocks away from home.
In frigid Manitoba winters, Michael pulled a hockey sock over his face to prevent frost-bite in nightly games, which ran from the end of the school day until 9: 30 p.m. - with the occasional intermission for supper
No hockey schools. No top-of-the-line equipment. No power-skating lessons
Now an invitee to Team Canada's WJC camp, Ferland gets to wear the Maple Leaf on national (I think) television for the first time in tonight's Red vs. White game, an annual scrimmage tradition. A part of team White, Ferland has already scored once in the intra-squad scrimmages.
It's hard to handicap his chances for the team this year: on the one hand, he's not the highest "skilled" player. However he's a hard worker with a good frame and strength who's been improving by leaps and bounds. Assuming he does make it, it'd likely be in an "energy line" capacity.
For a player with his history and strange development curve, getting a chance to represent Canada when they lose to USA in the World Juniors would be an honor, and it'd certainly give Flames fans something to be optimistic about, as we'll almost certainly see him in Abbotsford next season. Whether the fifth round pick will one day be a Flame is anyone's guess, but he's certainly been an interesting prospect so far.