Merkley All Smiles Photo Credit Marissa Baecker
Aug 8,2014(ISN) – Kelowna Rockets forward and reigning Western Hockey League rookie of the year Nick
Merkley has been named as one of 22 players that will play in the annual Ivan Hlinka
Memorial Under-18 tournament, taking place Aug. 11-16 in Breclav, Czech Republic and
Merkley, 17, is one of 13 forwards on Team Canada’s roster which includes eight
players from the WHL and OHL and six from the QMJHL.
Merkley is coming off an outstanding rookie season with the Rockets where he posted
25 goals and 33 assists in 66 games played, finishing fifth in team scoring before
adding 17 points in 14 Rockets playoff games.
A native of Calgary, AB, Merkley was then named the WHL rookie of the year at the
league’s annual awards banquet and ceremony.
The head coach of Canada’s U-18 team is Jody Hull (Petrolia, Ont./Peterborough, OHL)
with assistant coaches Shaun Clouston (Viking, Alta./Medicine Hat, WHL) and Martin
Raymond (Pierrefonds, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL),
The coaching staff along with Ryan Jankowski, Hockey Canada’s head scout for men’s
national teams, and Tim Speltz (Medicine Hat, Alta./Spokane, WHL), who is assisting
the Program of Excellence management group, were involved in the selection process.
“I am excited about the roster we have named today,” Hull said. “This was an
intense, high-tempo camp, and there were some tough decisions to get down to the
final 22 players. As a coaching staff, we’re confident we’ve selected the best team
to travel to Europe and continue Canada’s great tradition at this event.”
Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team breakdown
* Eight players from the Western Hockey League (Barzal, Bear, Harkins, Hobbs,
Merkley, Musil, Sawchenko, Soy)
* Eight players from the Ontario Hockey League (Crouse, Knott, Konecny, Marner,
Spencer, Stephens, Strome, Vande Sompel)
* Six players from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Beauvillier, Booth,
Brisebois, Meloche, J. Roy, N. Roy)
* 22 players with experience in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence
* Three players who won a bronze medal as under-agers at the 2014 IIHF Ice
Hockey U18 World Championship in Lappeenranta and Imatra, Finland (Barzal, Crouse,
Canada has won the annual summer under-18 tournament six consecutive years, and has
won 18 of 23 tournaments since 1991. It will play in Group B in Piestany with
Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. Group A, which consists of the Czech Republic,
Finland, Russia and the United States, will play out of Breclav.
Canada will face the Czech Republic in a pre-tournament game in Breclav on Saturday,
Aug. 9 before opening the tournament against Switzerland on Monday, Aug. 11. The top
two teams from each group advance to the semifinals on Friday, Aug. 15, with the
gold medal game scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 16.