Brandon Wheat Kings
Hockey Alberta and BC Hockey announced Tuesday the 22-player roster that will represent Team Pacific at the 2012 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, December 29, 2011 – January 4, 2012 in Windsor, Ontario.
Among the players chosen is 16-year old Brandon Wheat Kings’ defenceman Ayrton Nikkel of Kelowna, B.C.
Team Pacific is comprised of 11 players from BC and 11 players from Alberta. Each province held a provincial camp over the summer to identify a set number of players. These players were evaluated during the first part of the club team season by a selected group of high performance evaluators.
“We’re very excited about the talented group of athletes we’re bringing to this competition,” said Team Pacific Head Coach, Michael Dyck. “We feel we have the right pieces in place to compete against the top teams in Windsor next month.”
The Under 17 program is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence. Many players who compete at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National men’s Under 18 Team, National Junior and National Men’s Team.
Entering Friday night’s game against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, Nikkel has a goal and an assist as well as 21 penalty minutes in sixteen games this season.
A former second round bantam draft pick of the Blades, the 6’1″ 185 lb defenceman, who helped win a Gold Medal for B.C. at last year’s Canada Winter Games, was obtained by the Wheat Kings in last January’s deal that saw Brandon trade all star center Brayden Schenn to Saskatoon.
Nikkel and the Wheat Kings return to the practice ice this afternoon and begin preparations for what will be a busy weekend of hockey. After opening up against the Tigers on Friday, Brandon will travel to Swift Current on Saturday before playing the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Sunday night.
Tickets to Friday’s game are on sale now at the Keystone Centre box office, by calling 726-3555 or online at ticketmaster.ca