Two Trail Smoke Eaters will suit up for Team Canada West at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge in Truro, N.S., Dec. 10-16.
Rossland native Ross Armour and Kelowna product Seth Barton were named to the team on Wednesday following a selection camp that saw 60 of the best Junior A players from the BCHL, Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and Manitoba Junior Hockey League convene in Calgary this past week.
“We’ve seen some great Canadian hockey talent over the four days of camps, and both teams had difficult decisions to make to pare it down to 22 players per roster,” said Brent Ladds, president of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. “This will be a great event, and the two teams will make Canadians very proud.”
Thirteen of the 22 players selected hailed from a BCHL team including the Interior Division’s Brett Stapley from Vernon, Jonny Tychonick and Ryan O’Connell from Penticton, and Rylan Van Unen from Merritt.
The Smoke Eaters 18-year-old rookie forward Levi Glasman also was invited to the camp after posting 13 goals and 31 points in 25 games, but was not selected.
Armour, a 19-year-old forward and Bemidji State commit, has led the BCHL in scoring most of the season but is now in third place with 16 goals and 42 points, and was also invited to last year’s camp.
Barton, an 18-year-old smooth-skating defenceman, is in his first year in the BCHL and has five goals and 10 points in 28 games with the Smoke Eaters. He has committed to UMass-Lowell and was named one of the NHL Central Scouting’s top draft prospects for 2018.
The 2017 World Junior A Challenge is presented by Hockey Canada, the CJHL and Hockey Nova Scotia, in partnership with NHL Central Scouting.
Team Canada East will open the tournament against Russia in prime time on Sunday when the World Junior A Challenge returns to Atlantic Canada. Team Canada West will open its tournament against the Czech Republic at 3:30 p.m. AT on Dec. 10.
The RECC in Truro will also host two pre-tournament games on Friday, Dec. 8. At 3:30 p.m. AT, the Czech Republic will take on the Truro Bearcats, while Team Canada East will play Team USA at 7:30 p.m. that same evening. Team Canada West and Russia will travel to nearby Amherst for a 7:30 p.m. pre-tournament game on Dec. 8.
Nine of the 11 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 home gold in 2011 and 2015. The team also won silver medals in 2008, 2009, and 2012, as well as bronze in 2013.