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Howden, Pysyk lead Team WHL for SuperSeries

by Adam Kimelman
A pair of 2010 first-round draft picks will headline the Western Hockey League's games against Team Russia next month as part of the 2010 Subway SuperSeries.

Edmonton Oil Kings defenseman Mark Pysyk, the 23rd pick of the Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, and Moose Jaw Warriors center Quinton Howden, the 25th pick of the Draft by the Florida Panthers, are two of seven players that will skate in both games of the event.

Team WHL will face Team Russia on Nov. 17 in Kamloops, B.C., and again in Prince George, B.C., on Nov. 18.

Joining Howden and Pysyk in both games will be Medicine Hat Tigers right wing Linden Vey, a 2009 fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings; Tri-City Americans right wing Brendan Gallagher, a 2010 fifth-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens; Calgary Hitmen defenseman Matt MacKenzie, a 2010 third-round pick of the Sabres; Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Calvin Pickard, a 2010 second-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche; and Everett Silvertips goaltender Kent Simpson, a 2010 second-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Howden and Pysyk also are two of the seven first-round Draft picks playing in the games. Portland Winterhawks center Ryan Johansen, the fourth pick of the 2010 Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Brett Connolly, taken two picks later by the Tampa Bay Lightning, will play in the Prince George game, along with Brandon Wheat Kings right wing Scott Glennie, who the Dallas Stars picked with the eighth pick of the 2009 Draft.

Spokane Chiefs defenseman Jared Cowen, who the Ottawa Senators took at No. 9 in 2009, and Regina Pats right wing Carter Ashton, taken at No. 29 in 2009 by the Lightning, will play in the Kamloops game.

Also playing in the Kamloops game is Red Deer Rebels center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, one of the top-rated players for the 2011 Entry Draft. Another top 2011 Draft prospect, Portland Winterhawks right wing Ty Rattie, will play in the Prince George game.

The teams were put together by the WHL, with consultation from Hockey Canada and head scout Kevin Prendergast, which will use the games to help pick the team Canada will send to the 2011 World Junior Championship in Buffalo.

Kelowna Rockets coach Ryan Huska -- who will serve as an assistant coach for Canada at the WJC -- will lead Team WHL for both games.

"I'm honored to be working with such a strong group of talented hockey players from the Western Hockey League," said Huska. "There are some terrific young hockey players in the WHL. This will be a great challenge for them against a very good Russian hockey club."

Calgary Hitmen coach Mike Williamson will be an assistant coach for both games. Kamloops Blazers coach Guy Charron will be an assistant coach for the Kamloops game, and Dean Clark will be an assistant coach for the Prince George game.

The WHL games are the final ones in the SuperSeries. Team Russia will play Team QMJHL on Nov. 8 in Saint John, N.B., and Nov. 10 in Drummondville, Que., and will play Team OHL on Nov. 11 in London, Ont., and Nov. 15 in Sudbury, Ont.

Contact Adam Kimelman at

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