Calgary, Alta. – Hockey Canada has recognized 12 Western Hockey League players, as part of a group of 46 players invited to attend Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp.
Six goaltenders, 14 defencemen and 26 forwards were set to compete for a chance to represent Canada at the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which was scheduled for August 3-8 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., before it was cancelled April 28 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The breakdown of WHL players led by first-overall 2018 WHL Bantam Draft selection and 2020 WHL Rookie of the Year, Dylan Guenther of the Edmonton Oil Kings, includes two goaltenders, five defencemen and five forwards.
“It is important for Hockey Canada to recognize the work the players and coaching staff already put in to prepare for the summer and a chance to compete for gold on home ice,” said Scott Salmond, senior vice-president of national teams for Hockey Canada. “It was a difficult decision to cancel the tournament, as it provides the opportunity to showcase the top under-18 players in a best-on-best international showcase. We want to recognize the 46 players and our three coaches for this tremendous accomplishment, and we look forward to watching all players continue to develop as they look ahead to next season and a chance to compete at the IIHF U18 World Championship.”
With the release of the camps’ selection group also came the announcement that Everett Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams (Stratford, Ont. / Everett Silvertips) would have guided Team Canada as an assistant coach.
In 2018, the tournament was rebranded as the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and hosted in Canada, with Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., serving as co-hosts. In 2019, Canada earned silver in Breclav, Czech Republic following a 3-2 loss to Russia.
Canada has won gold 22 times in 28 years of summer under-18 competition, along with three silver medals and one bronze.
With the cancellation of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, focus will now turn to the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship next spring; a host city has not yet been announced. The Czech Republic and Slovakia will host the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup before it returns to Edmonton and Red Deer in 2022.
For more information on Hockey Canada, Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team and the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Twitter.com/HC_Men.
WHL Players – National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team
||Prince George Cougars
|| PG 2018 (1, 21)
||SEA 2018 (3, 55)
||Prince Albert Raiders
|| PA 2018 (1, 3)
||WPG 2018 (1,2)
||Red Deer Rebels
||RD 2018 (1, 16)
||SPO 2018 (1, 17)
||Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.
||EVT 2018 (2, 42)
|| Edmonton Oil Kings
||EDM 2018 (1,1)
||SEA 2018 (2, 34)
||Medicine Hat Tigers
||MH 2018 (1, 11)
||KAM 2018 (1, 5)
||LET 2018 (1,8)
About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.