Kelowna Rockets-(1)

by Kevin Parnell

January 1, 2014, Kelowna (ISN) – During the first half of the Western Hockey League season, Kelowna Rockets fans have gotten used to seeing special plays out of 16-year-old forward Nick Merkley.

The Rockets first round bantam draft pick in 2012 sits seventh in Rockets team scoring with 28 points in 33 games to start the season.

His vision, competitiveness and drive have been on display since the Calgary native made his debut in last year’s playoffs as a 15-year-old.

So it comes as no surprise that Merkley is showing the same flash as a member of Team Pacific at the 2014 World Under-17 Challenge in Cape Breton, New Brunswick.

The International Scouting Services has selected three players from each of the six teams competing in the tournament as future players to watch and Merkley wasn’t left out of the rankings.

He was one of Team Pacific’s top three players accoring to the ISS, which had this to say about the dynamic forward: “productive two-way forward … creates scoring opportunities … excellent work ethic … great edge use … anticipates the play … plays in all situations.”

Fellow Kelowna Rockets rookie Joe Gatenby is also on Team Pacific while Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert is the head coach of Team West.

The World Under-17 Challenge continues though Jan. 4 when the medal games will be played.

You can find out more about the tournament and check the results by clicking here.