Canada West has appeared in the gold medal game at all four previous World Junior A Challenges, winning gold in Yorkton, Sask. in 2006, and Trail, B.C. in 2007, before settling for silver at the last two events, in Camrose, Alta. in 2008 and Summerside, P.E.I. in 2009.
The Canada West roster is comprised of players from 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).
“Our staff has worked tirelessly to watch players from the five western leagues over the first few months of the season, and we are confident we have a good mix of players to help us regain the gold medal,” said Larry Wintoneak (Kindersley, SJHL), head coach of Canada West. “We’re looking forward to getting on the ice in Penticton next week as we prepare as a team to get back to the gold medal game.”
The selection process for Canada West involved extensive scouting by Wintoneak, head scout Leonard Strandberg, general manager Rylan Ferster and assistant coaches Jomar Cruz (OCN, MJHL), Andrew Milne (Canmore, AJHL) and Barry Wolff (Langley, BCHL). It also included an evaluation camp featuring 40 hopefuls in Penticton in mid-September.
Canada West’s roster for the 2010 World Junior A Challenge includes:
Two (2) goaltenders, seven (7) defencemen and 13 forwards
Five (5) players currently leading or co-leading their teams in scoring (Clarke Breitkreuz – Yorkton, Drew George – Weyburn, Joey Laleggia – Penticton, Sam Mellor – Trail, Dylan Walchuk – Vernon)
Seven (7) players returning from the 2009 World Junior A Challenge (Clarke Breitkreuz, Madison Dias, Grayson Downing, Ben Gallacher, Joey Laleggia, Ryan Marshall, Brendan O’Donnell)
Three (3) players selected in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (Ben Gallacher – Florida, 4th round, 93rd overall; Mark MacMillan – Montreal, 4th round, 113th overall; Brendan O’Donnell – Tampa Bay, 6th round, 156th overall)
Eight (8) players from the BCHL, seven (7) players from the AJHL, three (3) players from the SJHL, three (3) players from the MJHL and one (1) player from the SIJHL
Two (2) players from Penticton, B.C. (Madison Dias, Mark MacMillan)
Three (3) players that play for the Penticton Vees (Joey Laleggia, Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell)
Canada West will play in Group B at the 2010 World Junior A Challenge, joined by Russia and Switzerland, while Canada East, Sweden and the United States will comprise Group A. Round-robin play will run until Thursday, November 10, with both semifinals taking place on Saturday, November 13. The gold medal game, which will be shown nationally on TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, is set for Sunday, November 14 (check your local listings for broadcast times).
All preliminary round games, quarter-finals, semifinals and the bronze medal game can be seen live via webcast through FASTHockey at hockeycanada.fasthockey.com for $6.95 per game.
Tickets for the event are available at the South Okanagan Events Centre Box Office or at the Wine Country Visitors Centre in Penticton. You can also purchase tickets online at www.valleyfirsttix.com or via phone at 1-877-763-2849. More information on ticket packages can be found here.