BC Hockey announced October 4, 2016 the 20 players selected to play for Team BC at the 2016 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup against Team Alberta, Team Saskatchewan and Team Manitoba. The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup takes place from October 18 – 23, 2016 at WinSport in Calgary, Alberta.
The players will be evaluated by BC Hockey evaluators and the Team BC coaching staff during the first part of the hockey season with their club team, and the final roster will be announced on October 3, 2016.
“On behalf of the Team BC staff, we are excited about this group of young men selected to play for Team BC at the 2016 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup,” said Team BC Director of Operations, Derek Cranfield. “The team has a good mix of hockey smarts, skills, size and speed; all traits Team BC needs to perform at this tournament. The entire group is honoured to represent BC and BC Hockey and are looking forward to working together to have a great tournament.”
Team BC kicks off the 2016 Western Canada Challenge Cup on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 against Team Manitoba. The team plays Team Alberta on Thursday, October 20, 2016 and Team Alberta on Friday, October 21, 2016. The tournament wraps up on Sunday, October 23, 2016 with the bronze and gold medal matchups.
The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup features the highest rated players in the U16 age category representing the four (4) Western provinces of Alberta, BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The four (4) team round robin format is the first step in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence and assists the four (4) western provincial hockey Branches in evaluating the top prospects in this age group for future high performance programs. The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup is made possible through financial support provided by the Western Hockey League (WHL). The majority of players participating in the event were selected in the WHL Bantam Draft in May 2016 and many of these top prospects will play major roles with WHL clubs in the seasons ahead.
Some notable players that have participated as part of Team BC include:
- Curtis Lazar – Ottawa Senators
- Morgan Reilly – Toronto Maple Leafs
- Sam Reinhart – Buffalo Sabres
The U16 Program is the second stage in the BC Hockey High Performance Program, which exposes players, coaches and officials to short term competition. The U16 Program also acts as a precursor to the Hockey Canada High Performance U17 Program, which is used to identify and train players and team personnel for provincial, regional and national teams.