WINNIPEG, MB- Hockey Manitoba and Saskatchewan Hockey Association are pleased to release the U-17 Team West roster who'll compete at the 2013 World U-17 Challenge in Victoriaville/Drummondville, Quebec. Team West is annually composed of players from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and this season for the first time the roster will not hold a pre-determined 50/50 quota from each province. As part of a collective effort to raise the productivity of the under-17 program the Team West roster will consist of the top 22 players deemed to be the best in the region, regardless of their home province. Regional under-17 programs across the country have been exploring changes to enhance programming and meet the goals to develop top athletes for Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence (National Teams) which is a critical purpose of the World U-17 event.
Team West has been selected out of a pool of sixty-eight players (68) 1996 born players who were invited to the Team West Summer Camp held back in August at Wilcox, SK. Summer Camp players were invited based on previous performances within each province's Under-16 Program of Excellence in addition with feedback from a scouting network utilized throughout the 2011/12 season. After the Summer Camp the Team West staff & scouting network evaluated a short list of players to compose the final roster. Team West will consist of eight (8) Manitoban players and fourteen (14) from Saskatchewan. Out of the twenty-two player roster fourteen (14) currently play in the Western Hockey League (WHL), along with six (6) from Midget AAA, and two (2) from Junior A. Manitoban players as follows; Baudry, Brooks, Edmonds, Hawryluk, Lindgren, Sanheim, Thomson, Zalitach. Seven of the eight Manitoban players are U-16 Team Manitoba alumni who won silver at the 2011 Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup in Moose Jaw, SK.
Don MacGillivray (Winnipeg) currently of the Winnipeg Blues will head Team West behind the bench along with assistant coaches David Anning (Winnipeg) of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Malcolm Cameron (Cole Harbour) of the Regina Pats. Team West geared to improve upon recent low placements at the World U-17 Challenge, most notably last season's 10th place finish. The task will not be easy for Team West as competition is always at a world-class level, this year they will find themselves in Group A along with Team Pacific consisting of Alberta & British Columbia players, Finland who won the 2012 Youth (U-16) Olympics, and perennial powerhouses Sweden and Russia. Team West will kick-off action on Friday, December 28th in their sole exhibition match versus Slovakia in Saint-Pierre-les-Bécquets, PQ.