Wednesday, October 15, 2008

7th Heaven For AJHL

Team Canada West was named today for the upcoming World Junior A Challenge.

The top notch tournament starts November 2nd in Camrose, and Kodiaks bench boss Boris Rybalka will be walking the beat for what definitely will be the home side.

Rybalka stuck close to home today, naming 7 players from the AJHL.

You can view the complete list from Hockey Canada but there are a few players you will likely know if you follow the AJHL.

Dylan Olsen and Andrew MacWilliam will patrol the blueline and represent the home town Kodiaks, Aaron Dell of the Calgary Canucks will mind the twine, Steven Seigo of Bonnyville is the 2nd highest scoring D-Man in the AJ. Up front Matt Mackay is close to a point per game pace for the Calgary Canucks this year, Derek Rodwell of Okotoks will provide some muscle, and Grande Prairie's Tanner Fritz has put up 16 points in 14 games thus far in the young AJHL season.

3 Players from Team Canada West were drafted this past June:

Andrew MacWilliams-Toronto-7th round
Justin Schultz-Anaheim-2nd Round
Derek Grant-Ottawa-4th Round

There are 8 players who will be considered for this June's NHL draft in Montreal. 8 players that will hope to join the likes of Joe Colborne, Nikita Filatov, and Kyle Turris who all played in this event in the past and were all first round picks.

Two other players to watch will be Rylan and Jaden Schwartz from the Hounds of Notre Dame of the SJHL. Both starred for the Hounds a few years back in the Mac's Midget tournament and will hope to do the same in Camrose. Head Coach Mike Vandenberghe of Notre Dame has the luxary of the top two scorers from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey league, and like the former Brandon Wheat King D-man does in Wilcox, Boris Rybalka will lean heavily on the brothers and use the Schwartz to propel Team Canada West. The Duo have combined for 55 points in the Hounds first 12 games. Jaden is one of the 8 players NHL scouts will be eyeing up for this June's draft.

Team Canada West will play in a pool with Belarus and Russia, and will open the tournament against Belarus at 6:00 PM MST, Sunday November 2nd. The U.S.A, Germany and Team Canada East will battle it out in pool B. The roster for Team Canada East will be announced later this week. This Tuesday on TPS, we'll be interviewing the head coach for the United States, who that is will be announced shortly by Hockey USA. Keep checking our website for updates, and make sure you listen on Tuesday for your chance to win a complete tournament pass to the World Junior A Challenge.

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