Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen has been named to Canada’s 2014 world junior championship selection camp roster, joining 28 others vying for a spot on a team that hasn’t won gold since 2009.
Other B.C. born invitees include Hollyburn’s Sam Reinhart (Kootenay Ice, Buffalo Sabres), Delta’s Nic Petan (Portland Winterhawks, Winnipeg Jets), Aldergrove’s Shea Theodore (Seattle Thunderbirds, Anaheim Ducks), Kamloops’s Joe Hicketts (Victoria Royals, Detroit Red Wings).
Virtanen, who was selected by the Vancouver Canucks sixth overall in June’s NHL Entry Draft, would make his first World Juniors appearance if chosen. The Calgary Hitmen forward has seven goals and 19 points through 17 games in the WHL this season.
Virtanen, born August 17, 1996 played minor hockey in Abbotsford including Bantam AAA for the Abbotsford Hawks, and was selected first over all in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
Virtanen made his WHL debut in 2010-11, skating in nine regular season games and four playoff contests with Calgary — and was the third leading scorer for the Fraser Valley Bruins in the B.C. midget major hockey league. He scored 3 goals with 1 assist and was +3 with 4 penalty minutes in the regular season with the Hitmen. Calgary lost to Brandon in a first round series after finishing second to WHL champion Edmonton in the Central Division. Virtanen had no points and was -4 with 4 penalty minutes in the five game series against the Wheat Kings. In 39 games with Fraser Valley he scored 17 goals with 22 assists and a team-high 120 penalty minutes. Virtanen was the leading scorer for third-place Team British Columbia with five goals in four games at the 2011 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup.
Reinhart, born Nov 6, 1995, played minor hockey at the Hollyburn and was selected by Kootenay in the first round (15th overall) in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, made his WHL debut as a 15-year old. He appeared in four regular season games, seven playoff contests, and one Memorial Cup game with the Ice.
Reinhart scored 2 goals and was +4 in the regular season and was -1 with no points nor penalty minutes in five post-season games. He was the second-leading scorer for the BC midget major champion Vancouver NW Giants and represented British Columbia in the Canada Winter Games. He scored 38 goals with 40 assists and had 6 penalty minutes in 34 games. In five playoff games he scored 5 goals with 4 assists. Reinhart was the second-leading scorer at the Telus Cup behind teammate Alex Kerfoot, finishing with 7 goals and 13 assists in seven games. The Giants lost to Lac St-Louis in the bronze medal game. Reinhart won a gold medal at the Canada Winter Games – scoring 4 goals with 7 assists and 2 penalty minutes in six games.
Nicolas Petan, March 22, 1995, was a dominant scorer for the North Shore Winter Club bantam team in British Columbia in 2009-2010. He scored 76 goals with 63 assists in 57 games in PCAHA play and led the club to a fourth-place finish in the Western Canada bantam championships. Petan was selected by Portland in the first round (16th overall) of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.
Petan played three regular season games and seven playoff contests for Portland as a 15-year -old in the 2010-2011 season and skated for the Greater Vancouver Canadians in the British Columbia Midget Major League. He had 1 assist and was plus-one in the regular season for the Winterhawks and had no points or penalties in limited playoff ice time. Petan scored 19 goals with 30 assists and had 36 penalty minutes in 35 games for the Canadians and scored 3 goals with 3 assists and 18 penalty minutes in six BCMML playoff games. Petan was the second-leading scorer for gold medal-winning Team British Columbia at the Canada Winter games; finishing with 4 goals and 8 assists in 12 games.
D-man Joe Hicketts, born May 4, 1996, played minor hockey in Kamloops, and now plays with the Victoria Royals, and was aquired in a free agent signing by the Detroit Red Wings this year.
Joe was invited to the U18 camp last year, and captained the Pacific U17 in 2012-2013. He played midget hockey at OHA in 2011-12 and scored 17-34-54 in 51 games with 44 PIM.