Morning Star Staff
Liam Finlay of the Vernon Vipers is one of 22 players who will represent Team Canada West at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge in Cobourg and Whitby, Ont.,
Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League announced that two goaltenders, seven defencemen, and 13 forwards will make up this year’s Team Canada West roster, which meets the Czech Republic in the tournament-opener Sunday, at 10 a.m. (Pacific) at the Cobourg Community Centre.
Finlay was one of nine BCHLers selected after an evaluation camp in Leduc, Alta. Defenceman Dante Fabbro and forward Tyson Jost, both of the Penticton Vees, were also chosen. Fabbro and Jost are projected first-round picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
“We had quite the task to go from the 60 players invited to selection camp to this final 22-player roster,” said Team Canada West head coach Tim Fragle. “I’m happy with what we saw at camp, and of the welcome we had in Leduc, and I’m confident we have a strong team heading into this year’s World Junior A Challenge. We’ll be ready to compete.”
The final tournament roster was chosen by Fragle (Sherwood Park, AJHL) along with assistant coaches Paul Dyck (Steinbach, MJHL), Mike Reagan (Flin Flon, SJHL) and Barry Wolff (Coquitlam, BCHL), and director of hockey operations Trevor Alto (B.C. Hockey League).
Finlay, 18, of Kelowna, has compiled 11 goals and 30 points in 32 games with the Vipers. The dynamite forward has a NCAA scholarship with the University of Denver Pioneers for next year.
Finlay will likely miss the Vipers’ next five games. Depending on how Canada West fares, he possibly could play Sunday, Dec. 20 when the Vipers host the Powell River Kings.
Players named to Team Canada West were selected from the CJHL’s five western Junior A leagues although no players from the Saskatchewan circuit were selected.
An exhibition game featuring Team Canada West going head-to-head against Russia will take place Friday night at the Duncan McDonald Memorial Gardens, home of the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks.
This year marks the 10th edition of the World Junior A Challenge – executed as part of a partnership between Hockey Canada and the CJHL. The event visits Ontario for the first time since its inception in 2006. Two Canadian teams and four international squads will form the two groups of three teams that face off Dec. 13-19 at the Cobourg Community Centre in Cobourg and the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby.
All preliminary-round games, quarter-finals, semifinals, and the bronze-medal game can be seen live and free through FASTHockey webcasts at www.hockeycanada.ca/wjac.
The gold-medal game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. (Pacific) and will be broadcast by TSN and RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada. Check local listings for details.