As Canada’s men’s hockey team prepares for its second game at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Friday night against the Czech Republic, a quick scan of its roster reveals a strong contingent of players who cut their teeth in Junior hockey in the Canadian Junior Hockey League.
There are three BCHL alumni in that mix in Gilbert Brule, Andrew Ebbett and Chay Genoway. Brule played the 2002-03 season with the Quesnel Millionaires as a 15- and 16-year-old, posting 32 goals and earning the league’s rookie of the year award before going on to the Western Hockey League with Vancouver and becoming a first-round NHL draft pick in 2006 by Columbus.
Ebbett played the 2001-02 season with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in their inaugural BCHL season. He led them in scoring with 45 goals and 84 points and earned a scholarship to Michigan, becoming captain his senior year.
Genoway spent the 2005-06 season with the Vernon Vipers, securing a scholarship to North Dakota where he graduated as captain in 2011.
Also, the Canadian women’s team has one player that is also a CJHL alumnus in goalie Shannon Szabados who played over 200 games for three teams in the Alberta Junior Hockey League from 2002 to 2007.
In the Paralympic Games which run March 9 to 18 in Pyeongchang, there is a former BCHL player and coach who will be on the bench with the men’s sledge hockey team. Luke Pierce, who played for the Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers in the BCHL before a Canadian University hockey career at Royal Military College, is on head coach Ken Babey’s staff as an assistant.
Pierce was also a head coach in the BCHL with Merritt, winning the league’s coach of the year award in 2013.
The following is a list of the players competing along with the CJHL clubs and leagues they competed in:
|FIRST NAME||LAST NAME||POS.||CJHL TEAM(S)||LEAGUE|
|Rene||Bourque||F||Notre Dame Hounds||SJHL|
|St. Albert Saints||AJHL|
|Andrew||Ebbett||F||Salmon Arm Silverbacks||BCHL|
|Parry Sound Shamrocks||OJHL|
|Eric||O’Dell||F||Ottawa Jr. A Senators||CCHL|
|Ben||Scrivens||G||Drayton Valley Thunder||AJHL|
|Spruce Grove Saints||AJHL|
|Shannon||Szabados||G||Sherwood Park Crusaders||AJHL|
Fort Saskatchewan Traders
|Wojtek||Wolski||F||St. Michael’s Buzzers||OJHL|