Dan O’Connor

Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George Cougars are pleased to announce that four of their forwards (all 2010 WHL Bantam Draft Picks of the Cougars) will play in the upcoming World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario from December 29th, 2011 through January 4th, 2012.

Alex Forsberg (Waldheim, SK), Jordan Tkatch (Prud’Homme, SK) and Jarrett Fontaine (Humboldt, SK) will be suiting up for Team West while Chase Witala (Prince George, B.C.) will play for Team Pacific.

“We’re very excited, as we have been for a long time regarding this group,” said Prince George Cougars Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel Wade Klippenstein. “We felt we had a strong draft two years ago when we left the draft table, and now it’s come to be with six guys making our team as 16-year-olds, and four of them today being acknowledged as some of the top players in the country.”

Alex Forsberg (5’10”, 170 pounds) was selected by the Prince George Cougars first overall in the 2010 Bantam Draft and has not disappointed in his first full WHL campaign. Forsberg currently leads the Cougars in scoring with four goals, and 11 assists through 21 games.

“He’s our leading scorer as a 16-year-old, which says a lot in itself,” said Klippenstein. “Now he’s going to get a chance to take his game, and the type of player he is onto an international scene and I think everyone will be very impressed.”

Jordan Tkatch (5’11”, 197 pounds) has done a fine job of supplying the Cougars with clutch offense during his rookie campaign. Tkatch is second on the Cougars in goals scored with five, and at one point in October scored goals in four consecutive games. Tkatch also leads the Cougars in plus-minus with a +7. Tkatch was a second-round pick (31st overall) of the Prince George Cougars in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.

“He’s a competitor. Whether it’s at home or on the road,” said Klippenstein. “He’s only going to get better. I think he’s going to be a very reliable player for us both offensively and defensively.”

Jarrett Fontaine (5’5″, 150 pounds) has opened a lot of eyes through his first 19 games. He’s tallied three goals and one assist, and is +5 on the season. Fontaine has been frequently used as a penalty-killer, and has seen big minutes late in games. Fontaine was a third-round draft-pick (52nd overall) of the Prince George Cougars in 2010.

“Anybody who’s ever watched him, or coached him right away appreciates his work ethic,” said Klippenstein. “He’s a guy that will give you everything he has, and it’s infectious.”

Chase Witala (5’11”, 153 pounds) continues to make great strides early in his WHL career. Witala scored his first WHL goal on Sunday, November 13th in Vancouver, and has added four assists through 16 games this season. Witala was selected in the fifth round (89th overall) of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft.

“Chase is a very gifted offensive player,” said Klippenstein. “He’s a guy that’s going to make a lot of guys around him better.”

Klippenstein added, “This entire 95 group is going to be very special. And these four guys representing our team provide a great glimpse into our future and what’s coming for us.”