26 OHL players set for WU17 in Sarnia
26 of the Ontario Hockey League’s top young players will hit the ice in Sarnia and Lambton, Ontario, next week for the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
The annual tournament, which features the top 16 year-old talent from across the globe, takes place from November 2 – 8 at the RBC Centre in Sarnia and The Shores Recreation Centre in Lambton Shores, ON.
Canadian teams are in the hunt for their first gold medal in the tournament since 2011 when OHL stars like Sean Monahan, Kerby Rychel and Mathew Campagna led Team Ontario to a 5-3 championship victory over Team USA in Winnipeg.
Most recently, Team Pacific brought home a silver medal in last year’s event, dropping a 4-0 decision in the championship game to the United States.
Historically a 10 team event, the 2014 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge will operate under a new format. Canada’s traditional layout featuring five regional teams has been modified, shifting to a new three team model that includes players from across the nation skating alongside one another on three different Canadian teams. Canada will be represented by Team Canada Black, White and Red.
“I think the new model is something that all of the guys are excited about,” said Sarnia Sting defenceman and 2014 OHL Priority Selection first overall pick Jakob Chychrun. “We all had a great experience at the National Under 17 Development Camp in Calgary over the summer and really had an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with talent from across the country. I enjoyed making those connections and having the opportunity to get out on the ice with players I’ve never skated with before.”
One of eight OHL defencemen participating in the tournament, Chychrun gets the feeling that expectations are high this year.
“In the briefings we’ve received from Hockey Canada staff, it’s pretty clear that they want gold. Having not won the tournament since 2011, I think we all want to get back to the top. We have three pretty talented Canadian teams here.”
For Chychrun, the opportunity to suit up alongside former Toronto Jr. Canadiens Minor Midget teammate Travis Barron on Team Canada White has him anxious to get started. Barron, a first round draft pick of the Ottawa 67’s, became fast friends with Chychrun last season.
“We played Ottawa just the other day and having the chance to talk with him (Barron) after the game brought a smile to my face. I think that’s what I’m really looking forward to about this tournament. There’s the opportunity to play with new teammates, but the familiarity of a couple guys I’ve gotten to know well in Barron and Sting teammate Jordan Kyrou on my team.”
In total, there are 61 players from the Canadian Hockey League suiting up in the tournament, including 26 from the OHL, 19 from the QMJHL and 16 from the WHL.
The Canadian rosters were formed by a selection committee consisting of Hockey Canada’s Director of Player Personnel Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada Program of Excellence management group member Joel Bouchard, and regional scouts Donald Audette (Quebec), Brad McEwen (West), Kevin Mitchell (Atlantic) and Kyle Raftis (Ontario).
Here are the 26 Ontario Hockey League players participating in the event:
Team Canada Black: Matthew Hotchkiss (Guelph), Tyler Nother (London), Reagan O’Grady (Kingston), Christopher Paquette (Niagara), Zach Poirier (North Bay), Cliff Pu (Oshawa), Brandon Saigeon (Belleville)
Team Canada Red: William Bitten (Plymouth), Logan Brown (Windsor), Sean Day (Mississauga), Tye Felhaber (Saginaw), Adam Mascherin (Kitchener), Michael McLeod (Mississauga), Victor Mete (London), Matthew Timms (Peterborough), Givani Smith (Barrie), Logan Stanley (Windsor), Dylan Wells (Peterborough)
Team Canada White: Jonathan Ang (Peterborough), Travis Barron (Ottawa), Jakob Chychrun (Sarnia), Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia), Keaton Middleton (Saginaw), Michael Pezzetta (Sudbury), Taylor Raddysh (Erie), Anthony Salinitri (Sault Ste. Marie)
Dating back to the tournament’s inaugural season in 1986, more than 1400 players to have participated in the event have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft.
For more information on the upcoming tournament including how to purchase tickets, visit HockeyCanada.ca.