This morning, Hockey Canada unveiled the 22-man roster for Team Canada West ahead of the 2013 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The tournament kicks-off on Monday, November 4th and runs through to the 10th, with the Gold Medal game.
Three Vees were at the Canada West camp in Calgary but Paul Stoykewych is the only one to crack the final roster; Brett Beauvais and Alex Couloumbe were camp invitees as well. Firstly, congrats to Stoykewych as he is only one of two returnees to make the team. He helped Canada West to a Silver Medal last year and will be counted on for his experience; the only other returnee is Kurt Keats from Powell River. Paul plays a well-rounded game and likely will be one of two shutdown defensemen for Head Coach Jason McKee (Spruce Grove). Stoykewych is one of 10 players from nine BCHL teams to make the squad; Merritt the only team with more than one player (2).
There was some eyebrows raised with some of the notable omissions (which you can see a sampling below), including Brett Beauvais, who by all accounts had a great camp. However, as discussed in my interview with Matt Sells (International Scouting Services), the blue-line was deep this year and the competition was high for just seven spots. There were a handful of moves upfront that caught my eye as well but the coaches seem to have a template in place and want to build the roster in a certain way, and you have to respect that. If they go on to win gold, the whispers go away but if they don’t have a great tournament, those whispers will turn into more than a dull roar. I want this team to do well and I hope they prove doubters wrong but for now the roster moves have ignited some debate.
As mentioned, I caught up with former Vees Assistant Coach Matt Sells on the phone, as he’s now based out of Calgary working for International Scouting Services (ISS). Sells scouts the AJHL /WHL and starting to get into the BCHL’s Interior Division. He was at the camp all week compiling notes and took time to join me on the phone to talk about the camp and the final roster. It’s a lengthy interview, the full thing about 11 minutes, as we talk about the three Vees that were there, other BCHL players and surprises with the roster. I’ve broken up the interview into two segments, one is Matt and myself discussing the Vees that were there specifically (6 minutes). The other is the full length interview that covered pretty much every topic from camp (11 minutes). Matt gave me some great insight, from a scouting perspective, on some of the roster decisions; the interviews are worth your time.
Matt Sells on the three Vees at camp:
Matt Sells full-length interview:
Merritt-2 [Dane Birks (D), Jeff Wight (F)]
Cowichan Valley- 1 [Steen Cooper (F)]
Langley-1 [Viktor Dombrovskiy (D)]
Penticton-1 [Paul Stoykewych (D)]
Powell River-1 [Kurt Keats (F)]
Prince George-1 [Jesse Jenks (G)]
Salmon Arm-1 [Alex Gillies (F)]
Vernon-1 [Demico Hannoun (F)]
West Kelowna-1 [Adam Plant (D)]
Returnees Excluded: Luke Ripley (Powell River), Jonah Imoo (Powell River), Seb Lloyd (West Kelowna) and TJ Reeve (Melville / SJHL).