Hockey Canada on Wednesday announced the 22 players who will represent Canada West at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge to be held Nov. 4-10 in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
The roster was named following a four-day selection camp at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary. Jason McKee, who coaches the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, will coach Canada West at the tournament.
"Canada West has a proud tradition at the World Junior A Challenge, and we're confident this group of players will continue that tradition," McKee said in a statement. "These 22 young men earned their spots on the roster, and we believe they will represent western Canada well in Yarmouth."
Among the players named to the roster, six were considered "C"-rated prospects on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2014 NHL Draft. Defenseman Dane Birks of the Merritt Centennials in the British Columbia Hockey League is the only NHL-drafted player on the roster. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder was chosen in the sixth round (No. 164) of the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Players named to the Canada West roster were selected from the Canadian Junior Hockey League's five western Junior A leagues: the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).
The six "C"-rated prospects, who are projected to be late-round draft choices, are defenseman Brandon Hickey (Spruce Grove) and forwards Nicholas Jones (Sherwood Park, AJHL), Rhett Gardner (Okotoks, AJHL), Demico Hannoun (Vernon, BCHL), Alex Gillies (Salmon Arms, BCHL) and Jeff Wight (Merritt, BCHL).
"It is a tremendous achievement for these players to get to this point, and pulling the Team Canada jersey over their head is something that they will remember for years to come," CJHL president Kirk Lamb said.
Canada West will compete in Group B of the tournament with the Czech Republic and Switzerland. The Group A field consists of Canada East, Russia and the United States.
Goalies: Jesse Jenks, Prince George (BCHL); Tommy Nixon, Sherwood Park (AJHL).
Defensemen: Adam Plant, West Kelowna (BCHL); Paul Stoykewych, Penticton (BCHL); Josh Smith, Camrose (AJHL); Brandon Hickey, Spruce Grove (AJHL); Dane Birks, Merritt (BCHL); Maddison Smiley, Brooks (AJHL); Viktor Dombrovskiy, Langley (BCHL).
Forwards: Steen Cooper, Cowichan Valley (BCHL); Nicholas Jones, Sherwood Park (AJHL); Andrew Taverner, Sherwood Park (AJHL); Rhett Gardner, Okotoks (AJHL); Trace Elson, Whitecourt (AJHL); Dylan Hollman, Spruce Grove (AJHL); Owen LaClare, La Ronge (SJHL); Anthony Paskaruk, Brooks (AJHL); Demico Hannoun, Vernon (BCHL); Cameron Hughes, Spruce Grove (AJHL); Alex Gillies, Salmon Arms (BCHL); Jeff Wight, Merritt (BCHL); Kurt Keats, Powell River (BCHL).
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