The Western Hockey League, in partnership with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, Hockey Saskatchewan, Hockey Manitoba and Hockey Canada, announced today the rosters for the 2021 WHL Cup, which will begin Wednesday, October 20 in Red Deer, Alta.
Scheduled to be held October 20-24, the 2021 WHL Cup will be played at the Peavey Mart Centrium – home of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels – as well as at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer Polytechnic and will feature teams from the four Western Canadian provinces competing in a round robin tournament format followed by playoffs.
The 2021 WHL Cup will feature the top 2006-born players from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, each of whom is eligible for the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft. The 2021 WHL Prospects Draft is scheduled to be conducted online on Thursday, December 9.
The WHL Cup, established in 2009, is held every season except in years when the Canada Winter Games are held, and is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence for players.
As five-time champions at the tournament, Alberta will boast another strong roster with representation from across the province, including seven players from Calgary and six players from Edmonton. Defencemen Charlie Elick (Calgary) and Keith McInnis (Red Deer) will anchor the blueline, with Brock Souch (Edmonton) fuelling the offense up front.
Team British Columbia
After claiming bronze in 2019, B.C. will field a strong roster once again, including five players from Surrey. Forwards Jordan Gavin (Surrey) and Cayden Lindstrom (Fort St. John) will take aim as B.C. looks for a return to the gold medal game in 2021.
A silver medal finish in 2019 proved Manitoba can compete with the best. In search of gold in 2021, the Keystone Province will be powered by 10 players hailing from Winnipeg, including defenceman Jonas Woo. Lockport’s Cole Bilous will also help to steady the blueline for Team Manitoba.
A historic gold medal finish in 2019 puts the target prominently on Team Saskatchewan in 2021. Looking to defend its WHL Cup title, Saskatchewan will rely on nine players from Saskatoon, including defenceman Tyson Buczkowski and forward Trae Wilke.
2021 WHL CUP – EVENT SCHEDULE
[Player (Branch), WHL Club, NHL Draft Club (NHL Draft Year)]
Matt Dumba (Alberta), Portland Winterhawks, Minnesota Wild (2012)
Derrick Pouliot (Saskatchewan), Portland Winterhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins (2012)
Griffin Reinhart (British Columbia), Edmonton Oil Kings, New York Islanders (2012)
Morgan Reilly (British Columbia), Moose Jaw Warriors, Toronto Maple Leafs (2012)
Jake Virtanen (British Columbia), Calgary Hitmen, Vancouver Canucks (2014)
Jayce Hawryluk (Manitoba), Brandon Wheat Kings, Florida Panthers (2014)
Conner Bleackley (Alberta), Red Deer Rebels, St. Louis Blues (2016)
Brayden Point (Alberta), Moose Jaw Warriors, Tampa Bay Lightning (2014)
Ryan Gropp (British Columbia), Seattle Thunderbirds, New York Rangers (2015)
Haydn Fleury (Saskatchewan) Red Deer Rebels, Carolina Hurricanes (2014)
Mathew Barzal (British Columbia), Seattle Thunderbirds, New York Islanders (2015)
Nick Merkley (Alberta), Kelowna Rockets, Arizona Coyotes (2015)
Jansen Harkins (British Columbia), Prince George Cougars, Winnipeg Jets (2015)
Brendan Guhle (Alberta), Prince George Cougars, Buffalo Sabres (2015)
Ethan Bear (Saskatchewan), Seattle Thunderbirds, Edmonton Oilers (2015)
Tyler Benson (Alberta), Vancouver Giants, Edmonton Oilers (2016)
Brett Howden (Manitoba), Moose Jaw Warriors, Tampa Bay Lightning (2016)
Sam Steel (Alberta), Regina Pats, Anaheim Ducks (2016)
Kale Clague (Alberta), Moose Jaw Warriors, Los Angeles Kings (2016)
Nolan Patrick (Manitoba), Brandon Wheat Kings, Philadelphia Flyers (2017)
2015 WHL Cup All-Star Team
G – Matthew Thiessen (Manitoba), Tri-City Americans, Vancouver Canucks (2018)
D – Ty Smith (Alberta), Spokane Chiefs, New Jersey Devils (2018)
D – Jett Woo (Manitoba), Calgary Hitmen, Vancouver Canucks (2018)
F – Carson Focht (Saskatchewan), Calgary Hitmen, Vancouver Canucks (2019)
F – Eric Florchuk (Alberta), Saskatoon Blades, Washington Capitals (2018)
F – Eli Zummack (British Columbia), Spokane Chiefs
2016 WHL Cup All-Star Team
G – Byron Fancy (Alberta), Red Deer Rebels
D – Kaeden Korczak (Saskatchewan), Kelowna Rockets, Vegas Golden Knights (2019)
D – Braden Schneider (Saskatchewan), Brandon Wheat Kings, New York Rangers (2020)
F – Logan Barlage (Saskatchewan), Lethbridge Hurricanes
F – Peyton Krebs (Alberta), Winnipeg ICE, Vegas Golden Knights (2019)
F – Josh Williams (British Columbia), Edmonton Oil Kings
2017 WHL Cup All-Stars
G – Bryan Thomson (Saskatchewan), Lethbridge Hurricanes
D – Kaiden Guhle (Alberta), Prince Albert Raiders, Montreal Canadiens (2020)
D – Daemon Hunt (Manitoba), Moose Jaw Warriors, Minnesota Wild (2020)
F – Justin Sourdif (British Columbia), Vancouver Giants, Florida Panthers (2020)
F – Kyle Crnkovic (Alberta), Saskatoon Blades
F – Connor McClennon (Alberta), Winnipeg ICE, Philadelphia Flyers (2020)
2019 WHL Cup All-Stars
G – Dylan Ernst (Saskatchewan), Kamloops Blazers
D – Denton Mateychuk (Manitoba), Moose Jaw Warriors
D – Graydon Gotaas (Alberta), Prince Albert Raiders
F – Conor Geekie (Manitoba), Winnipeg ICE
F – Carter Dereniwsky (Saskatchewan), Victoria Royals
F – Brandon Lisowsky (British Columbia), Saskatoon Blades
The majority of players participating in the event will be selected in the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft, or will go on to be listed by WHL Clubs. The WHL Cup, formerly known as the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup, has been sponsored since 2009 by the Western Hockey League.
This year will mark the ninth year of the event. The first ever WHL Cup was held in Blackfalds, Alta., in 2009 and featured four of the top eight players selected in the 2012 NHL Draft. In 2011, the Moose Jaw Warriors and Hockey Saskatchewan hosted the event at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Sask. In 2012 and 2013, the tournament was hosted in Calgary at Father David Bauer Arena, the home of the WHL. From 2015 through 2019, the WHL Cup was hosted in Calgary at the Markin MacPhail Centre.
In 2010, 2014, and 2018, the WHL Cup was not contested due to the Canada Winter Games.
Team Alberta is a five-time champion of the WHL Cup, hoisting the trophy in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016, while Team British Columbia won the event in 2012 and 2017. Team Saskatchewan is the defending champion of the WHL Cup, having won the tournament in 2019, beating Team Manitoba 4-2 in the Gold Medal game.