Vernon’s Powell Connor of the B.C. Hockey League’s Trail Smoke Eaters (left) is one of four players from his team chosen to play for Team Canada West at the upcoming World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Vernon’s Powell Connor of the B.C. Hockey League’s Trail Smoke Eaters (left) is one of four players from his team chosen to play for Team Canada West at the upcoming World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Vernon defenceman selected to Team Canada West roster

Powell Connor one of four members of BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters chosen to club

Vernon’s Powell Connor is one of four Trail Smoke Eaters players named to Team Canada West’s roster for the World Junior A Challenge (WJAC) Dec. 7 to 15 in Dawson Creek.

Connor, 19, has four goals and 18 points in 32 games this season with the Smokies. He’ll be joined on Canada West by teammates Philippe Lapointe, Owen Ozar and Kent Johnson, the B.C. Hockey League’s leading scorer.

READ MORE: Connor commits to Michigan State

“We’re really excited to have four guys going,” said Smoke Eaters head coach and general manager Jeff Tambellini.

“All four of those guys have had an outstanding year, and three of the top-five points-per-game guys in the league. And Powell Connor, he’s had such an outstanding year on both sides of the puck. He’s probably one of the best two-way guys in our league, so we’re really thrilled for those guys, and hope they have an amazing experience.”

READ MORE: Vernon’s Connor savours Royal Bank Cup glory

The lone returning BCHL player this year is Coquitlam Express forward Massimo Rizzo, who won a bronze medal at last year’s tournament.

Vernon Vipers defenceman Trey Taylor was among the players cut from the final roster.

The full list of BCHL participants in this year’s tournament includes:

Defencemen

Powell Connor – Trail Smoke Eaters;

Xavier Henry – Chilliwack Chiefs;

Forwards

Brendan Budy – Langley Rivermen;

Kent Johnson – Trail Smoke Eaters;

Kyler Kovich – Nanaimo Clippers;

Philippe Lapointe – Trail Smoke Eaters;

Luke Mylymok – Salmon Arm Silverbacks;

Owen Ozar – Trail Smoke Eaters;

Nick Poisson – Prince George Spruce Kings;

Massimo Rizzo – Coquitlam Express;

Ethan Scardina – Nanaimo Clippers;

“We are excited to have our final roster selected, and our staff and players are excited for the opportunity to represent Canada and compete for a gold medal in Dawson Creek,” said Jamie McCaig, director of operations for Team Canada West.

In total, Canada West’s 22-man roster is comprised of 11 BCHL players, including nine of the 13 forwards, nine from the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and two from the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

On top of the 11 players, the BCHL will be well-represented on Canada West’s off-ice staff, including head coach Joe Martin (Alberni Valley), assistant coach Brian Maloney (Chilliwack), equipment manager Scott Crema (Alberni Valley) and athletic therapist Brayden Tonogai (Langley).

Team Canada West’s competition at the WJAC includes Canada East, Czech Republic, Russia and the United States.

Canada West kicks off its tournament Dec. 7 against the United States.

All games will be broadcast on the Hockey Canada website and on Hockey TV.

TSN and RDS will broadcast the bronze and gold medal games on Dec. 15.

—-with files from Trail Daily Times


@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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