November 15, 2013, Regina, SK & Winnipeg, MB (ISN) – Hockey Manitoba and Saskatchewan Hockey Association are pleased to announce the Team West roster competing at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge held December 28 – January 4, 2014 in Cape Breton, NS.
Nine of the players selected to the Team West roster currently play in the Western Hockey League.
A total of sixty-eight players (68) 1997 born players were invited to the Team West Summer Camp held August 7-11, 2013 in Portage la Prairie, MB at the PCU Centre. Each province, Manitoba & Saskatchewan, had thirty-four (34) players invited based on previous performances within their respective U-16 Program of Excellence along with the feedback from the team’s head scout based off of the 2012-13 season. Players have been scouted and evaluated throughout the early part of the 2013-14 season by the team’s head scout and coaching staff to name the final 22 player roster. With changes coming to the U-17 program to become a national development program directly operated by Hockey Canada next season this will serve as the final Team West roster in program history.
Team West is comprised of 9 Manitoban players and 11 Saskatchewan players born in 1997. Out of the Manitoban contingent 7 players were named to U-16 Team Manitoba last season and 8 are Manitoba Midget Hockey League alumni.
The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will feature some of the world’s top 1997 born players from Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and United States. Back in June, 77 World U-17 alumni were selected in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with a lifetime total of just over 1,300 players with U17 experience being drafted since 1986, including 301 first-rounders and 16 first overall picks.
Team West will be lead by Dan Lambert, currently Assistant Coach of the Kelowna Rockets (WHL), along with Assistant Coaches Kevin Hasselberg, 36, Head Coach/ General Manager of the Battlefords North Stars (SJHL), Josh Dixon, 30, Assistant Coach with the Regina Pats (WHL). Barrett Leganchuk, 30, Assistant Video Coach and video scout with the Winnipeg Jets (NHL). Brent Zelenewich, who works with Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), will act as Team West Goaltender Coach. Rounding out the staff are Nicole Renneberg (SHA), who returns for a third year as the Athletic Therapist and Jamie Leblanc of the Swift Current Broncos (WHL) as the Equipment Manager.