Boston Bruins forward Matthew Poitras will be stepping away from the National Hockey League. But for a good reason.

The Bruins on Monday assigned Poitras to Team Canada for the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. The 19-year-old Poitras, who has appeared in 27 games for the Black and Gold this season, will represent Canada when the tournament is held in Gothenburg, Sweden from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. 

Poitras told reporters he’s thrilled for the opportunity.

“Obviously you never want to leave the NHL, but I’m excited to get over there, play for my country,” Poitras told reporters at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday, per the team. “(I’ll) never complain about that. It’s a dream come true.”

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Poitras, a native of Ajax, Ontario, has tallied 13 points on five goals and eight assists for the Bruins this season. He said his Bruins teammates have encouraged him to enjoy the opportunity and he plans to build on what’s allowed him to have success in Boston.

“This is what I had in the back of my mind all summer. I was in the gym working, working hard,” Poitras told reporters. “Go to Guelph, have a good start, and hopefully get the opportunity to play for my country. It didn’t exactly work out that way but still get the opportunity to go. I’m excited.”

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Bruins general manager Don Sweeney made the announcement Monday.

“This is quite an accomplishment for all young hockey players, a chance to represent their country at one of the biggest stages,” Sweeney told reporters, per the team. “It’s unique in the fact that he’s playing in the NHL so that’s the first thing that probably goes through anybody’s mind, what’s the trade off? But there’s really no downside for him to go and represent and be a leader on that team, and hopefully accomplish the ultimate goal.

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“We’re excited for Matty and he’ll represent the Boston Bruins, himself, his family and Team Canada very well.”

Upon the conclusion of Team Canada’s run, Sweeney confirmed Poitras will return to the Bruins and continue his NHL path. Sweeney believes Poitras earned that opportunity.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images