Nielsen, Smith & Stotts making mark at U17 Hockey Challenge


With 24 players representing the Western Hockey League, there’s all sorts of reason to keep tabs on the 2016 World U17 Hockey Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. this week.

Leading the tournament goal-scoring race is Tristen Nielsen (Calgary Hitmen) of Team Canada White with four goals to his credit. Nielsen isn’t the only WHL representative having an impact through the preliminary stage. Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs) of Team Canada Black has a pair of tallies as does Riley Stotts (Swift Current Broncos) for Team Canada Red.

With preliminary action having wrapped up Tuesday evening, quarter-final play starts Thursday.

The crossover format quarter-finals will feature Group B’s first place Canada Red taking on Group A’s fourth place Canada White on Thursday at 2 p.m. (MT). Canada Black, first place in Group A, will take on Finland, fourth place in Group B, at 5:30 p.m. (MT).

Semifinal play is scheduled for Friday with the gold medal game slated for 5:30 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, Nov. 5. The bronze medal will be contests Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (MT).

In the meantime, let’s take a look at WHL players dotting the rosters throughout the tournament.

Canada Red (2-1-0)

Canada Red claimed first place in Group B, finishing preliminary play with a 2-1-0 record and six points. Canada Red defeated Team Sweden 4-3 on Oct. 31 and snuck past Team Russia 1-0 on Nov. 1. Canada Red’s lone loss came Oct. 30 in a 3-2 decision at the hands of Team Finland.

Riley Stotts (F) – Swift Current Broncos (2015, Round 1 – 10th)

The 16-year-old product of Winnipeg leads Canada Red in scoring at the conclusion of preliminary play, registering three points (2G-1A) in two games… Stotts scored once in a 3-2 loss to Team Finland. He followed up with a goal and an assist in a 4-3 win over Team Sweden…

Caiden Daley (F) – Brandon Wheat Kings (2015, Round 1 – 22nd)

Another 16-year-old Winnipeg product, Daley has seen action in three games without collecting a point…

Josh Tarzwell (F) – Lethbridge Hurricanes (2015, Round 2 – 24th)

The 16-year-old Red Deer product set up Shawn Element for the game’s only goal Nov. 1 as Canada Red edged Russia by a 1-0 score…

Luke Zazula (D) – Kamloops Blazers (2015, Round 4 – 82nd)

The 16-year-old Langley product has one assist in three games to date…

Carl Stankowski (G) – Seattle Thunderbirds (2015, Round 2 – 37th)

The 16-year-old product of Calgary surrendered three goals in his lone appearance, saddled with a 3-2 loss to Team Finland…

Canada White (1-2-0)

Canada White finished last in Group A after only winning one of three preliminary games. Canada White opened the tournament by defeating country rival Canada Black, claiming a 4-1 on Oct. 30. That was followed up by a 3-2 loss to the United States on Oct. 31 before the Czech Republic spanked Canada White by an 8-2 final on Nov. 1.

Tristen Nielsen (F) – Calgary Hitmen (2015, Round 1 – 15th)

While the 16-year-old product of Fort St. John will have to battle to extend his team’s tournament life, he led all preliminary scorers with four goals in three games… Nielsen’s big outing came in the tournament opener as he registered a hat trick to fuel Canada White to its lone victory – a 4-1 triumph over Canada Black… Nielsen’s efforts earned him honours as first star of the day for Oct. 30… The 5-foot-9, 182-pound forward added one more goal in his team’s 3-2 loss to Team USA…

Jackson Shepard (F) – Kamloops Blazers (2015, Round 2 – 23rd)

The 16-year-old product of North Vancouver managed one assist in three appearances…

Carson Focht (F) – Tri-City Americans (2015, Round 1 – 7th)

The 16-year-old product of Regina dressed in all three games for Canada White…

Koby Morrisseau (F) – Spokane Chiefs (2015, Round 1 – 9th)

The 16-year-old product of Grandview, MB, saw action in all three games for Canada White…

Elijah Brown (F) – Seattle Thunderbirds (2015, Round 1 – 15th)

The 16-year-old product of Edmonton scored once in Canada White’s 3-2 loss at the hands of the United States…

Jackson Leppard (F) – Prince George Cougars (2015, Round 1 – 8th)

The 16-year-old product of North Vancouver has skated in all three games to date for Canada White…

Ryan Chyzowski (F) – Medicine Hat Tigers (2015, Round 1 – 18th)

A late injury replacement addition to the roster, the 16-year-old Kamloops product has tallied one assist in three games played…

Jonathan Tychonick (D) – Saskatoon Blades (2015, Round 1 – 12th)

The 16-year-old Calgary product has made his impact from the blueline, chipping in two assists through three contests…

Jett Woo (D) – Moose Jaw Warriors (2015, Round 1 – 4th)

The 16-year-old Winnipeg product has proven effective through the preliminary stage of the tournament, notching two helpers in three games…

Canada Black (2-1-0)

After falling 4-1 to Canada White in its tournament opener on Oct. 30, Canada Black rebounded for a 5-4 win against the Czech Republic on Oct. 31 before closing out the preliminary stage with a 4-3 triumph over the United States on Nov. 1. The win over the U.S. ensured Canada Black of first place in Group A heading into the quarter-finals.

Ty Smith (D) – Spokane Chiefs (2015, Round 1 – 1st)

The 16-year-old product of Lloydminster, Alta., sits tied for third in team scoring with two goals and three points to his name through three games… The 5-foot-10, 166-pound blueliner struck for two goals on Nov. 1 as Canada Black won a critical contest against the United States…

Luka Burzan (F) – Moose Jaw Warriors (2015, Round 1 – 6th)

The 16-year-old Surrey product has one goal in three outings, scoring in Canada Black’s 5-4 win over the Czech Republic…

Tyler Popowich (F) – Vancouver Giants (2015, Round 1 – 3rd)

The 16-year-old product of Surrey has one assist to his name through three games…

Eli Zummack (F) – Spokane Chiefs (2015, Round 2 – 36th – RD)

In three games, the 16-year-old Kelowna product has managed one assist…

Brett Kemp (F) – Everett Silvertips (2015, Round 2 – 41st)

The 16-year-old product of Yorkton, Sask., has found his way into all three games for Canada Black…

Eric Florchuk (F) – Victoria Royals (2015, Round 1 – 13th)

The 16-year-old product of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., scored once in Canada Black’s 5-4 triumph over the Czech Republic…

Chase Wouters (F) – Saskatoon Blades (2015, Round 1 – 19th)

The 16-year-old product of Lloydminster has a goal and an assist, collecting both his points in Canada Black’s 5-4 victory over the Czech Republic on Oct. 31…

Nolan Foote (F) – Kelowna Rockets (2015, Round 2 – 43rd)

The son of former NHL star Adam Foote, the 16-year-old product of Kelowna has two assists to his name through three preliminary outings…

Calen Addison (D) – Lethbridge Hurricanes (2015, Round 1 – 2nd)

The 16-year-old product of Brandon has been efficient through three appearances, collecting two assists from the blueline…

Sean Comrie (D) – Brandon Wheat Kings (2015, Round 2 – 44th)

The 16-year-old native of Edmonton has appeared in all three contests for Canada Black…

For more information on the 2016 World U17 Hockey Challenge, visit

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