Hockey Canada has invited 35 Western Hockey League players, as part of a group of 113, to attend its virtual national under-17 development camp as the road to the 2020 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge begins.

The group, comprised of 12 goaltenders, 37 defencemen and 64 forwards, will be split into six teams for the week-long virtual camp, participating in a variety of sessions with a focus on player development through online education. The breakdown of WHL players includes four goaltenders, 11 defencemen and 20 forwards.

The list of WHL players invited includes 2005-born Connor Bedard, who was granted exceptional player status in March 2020 and subsequently selected by the Regina Pats, first overall in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft. 

“The national under-17 development camp is the first stage in introducing these athletes to the Program of Excellence, and it is a great opportunity for them to develop as players and learn what it takes to wear the Maple Leaf,” said Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of national teams with Hockey Canada. “Our three under-17 teams are very fortunate to have these nine experienced coaches, and we know our coaching and support staffs will embrace the opportunity to guide the development of the top young players in Canada.”

Eight WHL personnel were also named for the national under-17 teams coaching staffs. Behind the bench, Kelly Buchberger (Langenburg, Sask. / Tri-City Americans) will lead Team Canada White as head coach with Dr. Ben Cameron (Summerside, P.E.I. / Lethbridge Hurricanes) serving as the team physician. Joining Team Canada Red will be Kris Mallette (Kelowna, B.C. / Kelowna Rockets) as the team’s assistant coach along with equipment manager Ramandeep Dhanjal (Saskatoon, Sask. / Prince Gorge Cougars). On Team Canada Black, Kirt Hill (Winnipeg, Man. / Edmonton Oil Kings) was appointed the director of operations with Landon Watson (Neilburg, Sask. / Regina Pats) joining as the video coordinator. Finally, Jason Smart (Red Deer, Alta. / Vancouver Giants) and Shaun Sutter (Red Deer, Alta. / Red Deer Rebels) were named to the scouting staff.

The coaching staff will lead Canada’s national men’s under-17 teams at the 2020 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I., in November.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, please visit, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

NamePositionHeightWeightBornHometown2019-20 TeamWHL Draft
Ethan BuenaventuraGoaltender6’1″17106/22/04Winnipeg, Man.Rink Hockey Academy (CSSHL)CGY ’19 (4, 77)
Reid DyckGoaltender6’4″18501/20/04Wrinkler, Man.Pembina Valley (MAAAU18HL)SC ’19 (3,45)
Dylan ErnstGoaltender6’1″14902/06/04Weyburn, Sask.Moose Jaw (SMAAAHL)KAM ’19 (2, 28)
Matthew KieperGoaltender5’11”14603/08/04Winnipeg, Man.Winnipeg Bruins (MAAAU18HL)REG ’19 (3, 63)
Keaton DowhaniukDefenceman6’0”15502/08/04Sherwood Park, Alta.OHA Edmonton (CSSHL)PG ’19 (1, 3)


Tyson JugnauthDefenceman5’11”15404/17/04Richmond, B.C.Okanagan (BCMML)SC ’19 (1, 21)
Kevin KorchinskiDefenceman5’10”14606/21/04Saskatoon, Sask.Saskatoon Contacts (SMAAAHL)SEA ’19 (1, 10)
Mats LindgrenDefenceman5’8″14508/26/04North Vancouver, B.C.Burnaby Winter Club (CSSHL)KAM ’19 (1, 7)
Denton MateychukDefenceman5’9″17007/12/04Dominion City, Man.Eastman (MAAU18HL)MJ ’19 (1, 11)
Hunter MayoDefenceman5’11”17305/07/04Martensville, Sask.Saskatoon Blazers (SMAAAHL)RD ’19 (2, 23)
Josh NiedermayerDefenceman5’11”20202/20/04Penticton, B.C.Okanagan Hockey Academy (CSSHL)VAN ’19 (2, 30)
Kalem ParkerDefenceman5’8″14010/12/04Clavet, Sask.Saskatoon Blazers (SMAAAHL)VIC ’19 (2, 32)
Grayden SiepmannDefenceman5’10”17505/26/04Abbotsford, B.C.Yale Hockey Academy (CSSHL)CGY ’19 (1, 13)
Jason SpizawkaDefenceman5’11”16501/16/04Victoria, B.C.South Island (BCMML)VIC ’19 (1, 19)
Jace WeirDefenceman6’1″16505/21/04Coldstream, B.C.Okanagan (BCMML)RD ’19 (2, 38)
Connor BedardForward5’8″16507/17/05North Vancouver, B.C.West Van Academy (CSSHL)REG ’20 (1, 1)
Niall CrockerForward6’2″16207/31/04Delta, B.C.Delta Hockey Academy (CSSHL)PA ’19 (1, 22)
Nate DanielsonForward6’0″16509/27/04Red Deer, Alta.Northern Alberta Xtreme (CSSHL)BDN ’19 (1, 5)
Josh DaviesForward5’8″17903/24/04Airdrie, Alta.Pacific Coast Academy (CSSHL)SC ’19 (3, 54)
Conor GeekieForward6’3″17205/05/04Strathclair, Man.Yellowhead (MU18AAAHL)WPG ’19 (1, 2)
Kyren GronickForward5’11”17502/27/04Regina, Sask.Regina (SMAAHL)PG ’19 (2, 26)
Jordan GustafsonForward5’10”15901/20/04Ardrossan, Alta.Fort Saskatchewan (AMHL)SEA ’19 (1, 8)
Jhett LarsonForward5’8″15202/03/04Delisle, Sask.Notre Dame Hounds (SMAAHL)RD ’19 (8, 163)
Connor LevisForward6’1″18010/05/04Vancouver, B.C.St. George’s School (CSSHL)KAM ’19 (1, 20)
Brandon LisowskyForward5’8″16304/13/04Port Coquitlam, B.C.Burnaby Winter Club (CSSHL)SAS ’19 (1, 9)
Rieger LorenzForward6’1″16503/30/04Calgary, Alta.Edge School (CSSHL)WPG ’19 (4, 68)
Caleb ReimerForward6’2″16210/09/04Surrey, B.C.Delta Hockey Academy (CSSHL)EDM ’19 (1, 18)
Rylen RoersmaForward5’10”16107/25/04Raymond, Alta.Lethbridge (AMHL)BDN ’19 (1, 16)
Matthew SavoieForward5’9″18101/01/04St. Albert, Alta.Rink Hockey Academy (CSSHL)WPG ’19 (1, 1)
Bowden SingletonForward5’8″15005/15/04Calgary, Alta.Northern Alberta Xtreme (CSSHL)VAN ’19 (2, 43)
Ben ThortonForward6’1″16002/02/04Agassiz, B.C.Yale Hockey Academy (CSSHL)SPO ’19 (1, 15)
Mathew WardForward5’7″14001/24/04Kamloops, B.C.West Van Academy (CSSHL)SC ’19 (1, 14)
Oasiz WiesblattForward5’6″16504/08/04Calgary, Alta.Calgary Buffaloes (AMHL)MH ’19 (1, 12)
Koehn ZiemmerForward5’11”18012/08/04Mayerthorpe, Alta.St. Albert (AMHL)PG ’19 (1, 4)
Tyson ZimmerForward6’0″17509/05/04Russell, Man.Okanagan Hockey Academy (CSSHL)BDN ’19 (1, 6)