Thomas Bordeleau should have been on his way to Edmonton, Alberta this week for the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.
Instead, the Sharks' prospect has returned to Ann Arbor, Mich. and rejoined the Michigan hockey team, but not because he wasn't good enough to make Team USA's Junior National Team.
Bordeleau was left off the Team USA roster due to no fault of his own, as his roommate at the American selection camp in Plymouth, Mich., John Beecher, tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.
Under IIHF COVID-19 protocols, both players were disqualified from participating in the tournament, which is set to begin on Christmas Day and run through Jan. 5, 2021.
“They were crushed,” Team USA general manager John Vanbiesbrouck said, according to The Mercury News' Curtis Pashelka. “We appealed, did everything we could to understand and disseminate information, talk to our doctor group. They had to get back to the IIHF with these protocols. But the players were crushed.”
The Athletic's Kevin Kurz spoke to Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr. about Bordeleau being left off the roster despite not testing positive for COVID-19 himself.
"Lots of different emotions," Wilson Jr. told Kurz. "... A goal that you’ve been striving for was taken away, from something out of his control. He’s a great kid, but man, he’s just really disappointed and there’s nothing you can do about it, these are the rules. Lots of adversity, but having said that, he still will have the opportunity next season."
Michigan coach Mel Pearson also spoke to Kurz about Bordeleau's situation.
The Sharks drafted Bordeleau with the No. 38 overall pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, and they have high hopes for the 18-year-old center.
Bordeleau already has shown what he's capable of early in his Michigan career. Less than a month ago, he scored one of the most impressive goals you will see this year against Wisconsin.
The incredible dangles earned Bordeleau the No. 1 play on ESPN's SportsCenter that night.
While the Sharks and Bordeleau are disappointed he won't be able to help Team USA next week, there's still plenty of time for him to make his mark on the hockey world.