The “BCIHL Young Stars” roster that will play Kazakhstan’s National Junior Team Dec. 17 as part of the College Hockey Showcase was officially unveiled Wednesday.
The contest is part of a three-game series featuring Kazakhstan as the junior side prepares for the IIHF World Junior Championships. Kazakhstan will also play Trinity Western (Dec. 13) and Victoria (Dec. 11).
The “BCIHL Young Stars” team features five players from defending league champion Trinity Western, along with four players from each of Simon Fraser, Selkirk, Victoria and Vancouver Island University.
The team will boast a bevy of local players with 10 players hailing from the Lower Mainland.
Spartans forward Spencer Gerth (Langley), who is a WHL (Western Hockey League) veteran of 183 games, will help lead a TWU contingent that includes goalie Lucas Mills (Burnaby, B.C.), who leads the BCIHL in wins (8), goals against average (1.61) and save percentage (.941), forward Jordan Bogress (Delta, B.C.) and defencemen Elijah Vilio (Surrey, B.C.) and Evan Cusmano (Abbotsford, B.C.).
Amongst the other players who will be familiar to local hockey fans are Simon Fraser University’s Cole Plotnikoff (Surrey), Mitch Newsome (Surrey) and Arjan Cheema (Surrey), Vancouver Island University’s Dylan McCann (Surrey) and the University of Victoria’s Hayden Guilderson (Chilliwack, B.C.).
The “Young Stars” roster will also feature first-year VIU star Brett Witala (Kelowna, B.C.), who is second in league scoring with eight goals and nine assists in 12 games, and Selkirk’s Edward Lindsey (Castlegar, B.C.), who is second in team scoring and 12th in the BCIHL with four goals and seven assists in 12 games.
Following the College Hockey Showcase, the Kazakhstan national junior team will continue its preparations for the World Junior Championship, which has the team opening its competition against Finland Dec. 27th in Victoria. Kazakhstan is in a preliminary round pool that also features the United States, Slovakia and Sweden.
Kazakhstan is returning to the championship tournament having earned promotion last year after winning the Division I A tournament. The last time Kazakhstan competed in the top-level championship tournament was in 2009, when the team finished 10th. Kazakhstan’s best result at the World Junior Championship was a sixth-place finish in 1999.
As part of the Kazakhstan training camp, the team will be partnering with BC Hockey to host a HOCKEY DAY IN LANGLEY event that will allow local minor hockey teams and academies an opportunity to meet the Kazakhstan team and take part in a skills competition. Coaches will also have a chance to meet and learn from some international-level coaches.
Dec 10 – HOCKEY DAY IN LANGLEY
Dec 11 – Kazakhstan vs University of Victoria – 7 p.m. (Langley Events Centre)
Dec 13 – Kazakhstan vs Trinity Western University – 7 p.m. (Langley Events Centre)
Dec 17 – Kazakhstan vs BCIHL ‘Young Stars’ – 7 p.m. (Langley Events Centre)
BCIHL ‘YOUNG STARS’ ROSTER
1 – Michael Lenko – SFU – Gabriola Island, B.C. (English River Miners – SIJHL)
29 – Lucas Mills – TWU – Burnaby, B.C. (Abbotsford Pilots – PJHL)
7 – Dylan McCann – VIU – Surrey, B.C. (Campbell River – VIJHL)
9 – Tayden Woods – Selkirk – Calgary (Woodstock – MJAHL)
14 – Dylan Heppler – Selkirk – Taber, Alta. (Beaver Valley – KIHL)
16 – Edward Lindsey – Selkirk – Castlegar, B.C. (Castlegar – KIJHL)
17 – Jordan Bogress – TWU – Delta, B.C. (Humboldt – SJHL)
18 – Brett Witala – VIU – Kelowna, B.C. (Kelowna – KIJHL)
21 – Cole Plotnikoff – SFU – Surrey, B.C. (Kindersley – SJHL)
23 – Hayden Guilderson – Victoria – Chilliwack, B.C. (Estevan – SJHL)
39 – Branden Voss – Victoria – Camrose, Alta. (Drayton Valley – AJHL)
44 – Spencer Gerth – TWU – Langley, B.C. (Everett – WHL)
61 – Mitch Newsome – SFU – Surrey, B.C. (Coquitlam – BCHL)
81 – Carter Huber – Victoria – Calgary (Okotoks – AJHL)
88 – Gavin Rauser – VIU – Campbell River, B.C. (Powell River – BCHL)
2 – Tyler Severson – Victoria – Calgary (Creston Valley – KIJHL)
4 – Adam Morton – VIU – Ashton, Ont. (Almaguin Spartans – GMHL)
5 – Vince Bitonti – Selkirk – Calgary (Castlegar – KIJHL)
8 – Elijah Vilio – TWU – Aldergrove, B.C. (Aldergrove – PJHL)
53 – Arjan Cheema – SFU – Surrey, B.C. (Aldergrove – PJHL)
55 – Evan Cusmano – TWU – Abbotsford, B.C. (Aldergrove – PJHL)