Six BC players have cracked the 20 man Team WHL lineup for this year’s CHL Canada-Russia Series.
The Series showcases the top Canadian born NHL draft picks playing in each of three Canadian major junior leagues, along with a few top future draft prospects, in a six game series, with each CHL league hosting two games.
The Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers host the first two games, on Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10.
The OHL will host Games 3 and 4 while the QMJHL will conclude the series as hosts for Games 5 and 6.
Matthew Barzal (Coquitlam), Ryan Gropp (Kamloops), Jansen Harkins (North Vancouver), Joe Hicketts (Kamloops), and Noah Juulsen (Abbotsford) will suit up for the WHL team.
Should Jake Virtanen (Abbotsord / Calgary Hitmen / Vancouver Canucks) be returned to the WHL prior to the start of the series, he will be added to Team WHL’s roster, as the sixth BC player. At the moment, however, this looks very unlikely.
Future Draft Prospects:
Forward Nolan Patrick of Winnipeg is the youngest player (09.19.98), eligible for the 2017 draft. Three Alberta players, including both goalies, Zack Sawchenko of Calgary (12.30.97) and Carter Hart of Sherwood Park (08.13.98) along with D-man Kale Clague of Lloydminster (06.05.98) are eligible for the coming draft, June 24-25 in Buffalo.
8 First Rounders:
The roster also boasts a total of eight first round NHL Draft selections including Jake Debrusk (Swift Current), Mathew Barzal (Seattle), Noah Juulsen (Everett) and Merkley who were chosen in the first round this past year.
Alberta leads pack:
Alberta raised players make up half the team (10), while three hail from Manitoba, and two from Saskatchewan, plus the BC six.
Each of the three CHL member Leagues assembled a selection committee, working closely with Hockey Canada, to select the players for this year’s series.
This year, Team WHL will once again be coached by 2014 WHL Coach of the Year Dave Lowry (Victoria Royals) who will also serve as head coach for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon Wheat Kings) and Don Hay (Kamloops Blazers) will be the assistant coaches for Team WHL. Scott Hoyer (Kelowna Rockets) and Colin “Toledo” Robinson (Kamloops Blazers) will handle athletic trainer duties for both games.
Team WHL roster for the 2015 Canada Russia Series:
|Player||Hometown||WHL Club||NHL Draft|
|Barzal, Mathew||Coquitlam, BC||Seattle Thunderbirds||NYI 2015, Round 1, 16th|
|Bleackley, Conner||High River, AB||Red Deer Rebels||COL 2014, Round 1, 23rd|
|Chartier, Rourke||Saskatoon, SK||Kelowna Rockets||SJS 2014, Round 5, 149th|
|DeBrusk, Jake||Edmonton, AB||Swift Current Broncos||BOS 2015, Round 1, 14th|
|Gropp, Ryan||Kamloops, BC||Seattle Thunderbirds||NYR 2015, Round 2, 41st|
|Harkins, Jansen||North Vancouver, BC||Prince George Cougars||WPG 2015, Round 2, 47th|
|Hawryluk, Jayce||Roblin, MB||Brandon Wheat Kings||FLA 2014, Round 2, 32nd|
|Merkley, Nick||Calgary, AB||Kelowna Rockets||ARI 2015, Round 1, 30th|
|Patrick, Nolan||Winnipeg, MB||Brandon Wheat Kings||Eligible 2017|
|Point, Brayden||Calgary, AB||Moose Jaw Warriors||TBL 2014, Round 3, 79th|
|Pollock, Brett||Sherwood Park, AB||Edmonton Oil Kings||DAL 2014, Round 2, 45th|
|Quenneville, John||Edmonton, AB||Brandon Wheat Kings||NJD 2014, Round 1, 30th|
|Clague, Kale||Lloydminster, AB||Brandon Wheat Kings||Eligible 2016|
|Fleury, Haydn||Carlyle, SK||Red Deer Rebels||CAR 2014, Round 1, 7th|
|Guhle, Brendan||Sherwood Park, AB||Prince Albert Raiders||BUF 2015, Round 2, 51st|
|Hicketts, Joe||Kamloops, BC||Victoria Royals||DET (Signed as Free Agent)|
|Juulsen, Noah||Abbotsford, BC||Everett Silvertips||MTL 2015, Round 1, 26th|
|Sanheim, Travis||Elkhorn, MB||Calgary Hitmen||PHI 2014, Round 1, 17th|
|Hart, Carter||Sherwood Park, AB||Everett Silvertips||Eligible 2016|
|Sawchenko, Zach||Calgary, AB||Moose Jaw Warriors||Eligible 2016|
The schedule for the 2015 Canada Russia Series is as follows:
Game 1 – Monday, November 9 at Kelowna, BC
Game 2 – Tuesday, November 10 at Kamloops, BC
Game 3 – Thursday, November 12 at Owen Sound, ON
Game 4 – Monday, November 16 at Windsor, ON
Game 5 – Tuesday, November 17 at Rouyn-Noranda, QC
Game 6 – Thursday, November 19 at Halifax, NS
The 2015 Canada Russia Series will be nationally broadcasted in its entirety live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
For more information including how to purchase tickets, visit canadarussia.chl.ca.