PENTICTON, BC – The Penticton Vees are pleased to announce Mike Reilly and Mario Lucia have been named to Team USA for the 2011 World Junior ‘A’ Hockey Challenge.
The tournament is in its sixth year and will be hosted at the Langley Events Centre from November 7th-13th. Team USA is the three time defending champions, winning gold in 2008, 2009 and last November at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Mike Reilly is having a memorable start to his rookie campaign; leading defensemen in scoring in the BCHL, with five goals and 12 points in 10 games. The 18 year-old, Chanhassen, Minnesota native was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets, 54th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft; Reilly is committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers next fall.
Mario Lucia, 18, sits second in team scoring and third in the BCHL with eight goals and 20 points in his first 10 games. Lucia was also drafted this past June by the Minnesota Wild, 60th overall. Lucia recently committed to the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish for next fall, joining fellow teammate Steven Fogarty.
“Mario and Mike are exceptional hockey players, who have been recognized for their hard work and dedication to their game. Both have had great starts for us and I’m certain they will translate that success to their national team. I know they will represent USA Hockey and the Penticton Vees Hockey Club proudly.” Vees Head Coach and GM, Fred Harbinson.
Mario and Mike become the 12th and 13th players from the Penticton Vees to play in the WJAC since its inception in 2006; the only other American to play in the tournament was Beau Bennett in 2009.
Vees in the WJAC:
2006: Deron Cousens-Team Canada West
2007: Trevor Nill, Zac Dalpe and Brett Hextall-Team Canada West
2008: Denver Manderson and Curtis Mackenzie-Team Canada West
2009: Sean Bonar and Joey Laleggia- Team Canada West Beau Bennett-Team USA
2010: Joey Laleggia, Brendan O’Donnell and Mark MacMillan- Team Canada West
Team USA opens up against Team Sweden, on Monday, November 7th in Langley, BC. You can follow the 2011 WJAC at www.hockeycanada.ca and on Twitter @HC_WJAC. Every game is broadcasted on FastHockey.com, with the gold medal game slated for Sunday, November 13th.
- We will talk about the announcement with Fred Harbinson tonight on Coach’s Corner. If your in Penticton, come down to the Best Damn Sports Bar to be an audience member; the show gets going at 5:30pm.
- The Vees could have had two more Americans on the team in Joey Benik and Steven Fogarty.
- Today’s announcement is special, as the american team at this event is usually dominated by USHL players. The only other Vee to play for the ‘Yanks was Beau Bennett in 2009.
- I would expect within the next week two more Vees will be on one of the participating teams, Troy Stecher and Travis St. Denis attended Team Canada West Evaluation camp.