Former Smokie heads Canada West

Team Canada West coach Tim Fragle played with the Smoke Eaters from 1997-99

A former Trail Smoke Eater will lead Team Canada West at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge in Cobourg and Whitby, Ont.

Team Canada West coach Tim Fragle played with the Smoke Eaters from 1997-99 and just completed the selection process for Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League, announcing the 22 players that make up this year’s Team Canada West roster.

“We had quite the task to go from the 60 players invited to selection camp to this final 22-player roster,” said Fragle. “I’m happy with what we saw at camp, and of the welcome we had in Leduc, and I’m confident we have a strong team heading into this year’s World Junior A Challenge. We’ll be ready to compete.”

Nine players from the BCHL were named to the team including Tyson Jost (F) and Dante Fabbro (D) from the Penticton Vees, Bo Didur (G) Langley Rivermen, Dennis Cholowski (D) Chilliwack Chiefs, Liam Finlay (F) Vernon Vipers, Justin Fregona (F) Langley, Blake Hayward (F) Coquitlam, Carter Turnbull (F) and Kyle Betts (F) from the Powell River Kings.

The opening game goes at 1 p.m. ET Sunday against the Czech Republic.

Players named to Team Canada West were selected from the CJHL’s five western Junior A leagues: the BCHL, AJHL, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).

An exhibition game featuring Team Canada West going head-to-head against Russia will take place tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens, home of the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks.

This year marks the 10th edition of the World Junior A Challenge – executed as part of a partnership between Hockey Canada and the CJHL. The event visits Ontario for the first time since its inception in 2006. Two Canadian teams and four international squads will form the two groups of three teams that face off Dec. 13-19 at the Cobourg Community Centre in Cobourg and the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby.

All preliminary-round games, quarter-finals, semifinals, and the bronze-medal game can be seen live and free through FASTHockey webcasts at www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac.

The gold-medal game is scheduled for Sat. Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT and will be broadcast by TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada – check local listings for details.

Single-game tickets are now available for the tournament, and full-tournament ticket packages in both Cobourg and Whitby, including the gold-medal game, are still available through the Hockey Canada website.

Seven of the nine gold-medal games at the World Junior A Challenge have featured at least one Canadian team. Team Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, and also took the top prize in 2011. The team also earned silver in 2008, 2009 and 2012, and won bronze in 2013. Team Canada East earned silver medals in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011, and claimed bronze in 2008.

For more information on the 2015 World Junior A Challenge, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac, or follow along via social media at www.facebook.com/wjrac or www.twitter.com/hc_wjac.