Anyone who follows junior and college hockey knows about the World Junior Championships, but you may not have heard about the World Junior “A” Challenge. This event was created by Hockey Canada to showcase the Junior “A” talent around the world. Since it’s a Hockey Canada event and not an IIHF event, Canada has two team – Canada East and Canada West – the USA, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Russia.
Canada East will be comprised of players playing in Ontario to the Maritimes, while Canada West is players playing from Manitoba to British Columbia. It’s not about the hometown because their are a couple kids from Ontario in consideration for Canada West because they are playing in the Western provinces. The United States roster is comprised of players in the USHL and two players playing in the British Columbia Hockey League. The European teams usually bring younger players which you will hear about a year or two down the road.
On the USA roster, there is officially only one player on the roster that will be playing in Hockey East in the future. Austin Cangelosi of the Youngstown Phantoms will be going to Boston College in 2013 will be suiting up for the Americans. This season he has eight goals and three assists in six games.
Maine goalie recruit was initially named to the roster, the Dubuque Fighting Saints’ netminder was injuried Saturday night with a lower body injury and will miss the WJAC’s which run November 7th-13th in Langley, British Columbia. The 18-year old had a 3-2 record with a 1.73 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage this season.
While Canada East hasn’t officially named their roster, they named 34 players to one last evaluation camp this coming weekend. Devin Shore who will suit up for Maine in either 2012 or 2013 will try to earn a spot on the final roster as the lone Hockey East recruit. He has nine goals and eleven assists in 14 games.
Canada West roster announced their evaluation camp roster late Wednesday afternoon and two Hockey East recruits are named. Evan Richardson (Boston College) of the Powell River Kings (BCHL) has three goals and four assists in eleven games this season. The other is Paul De Jersey (Providence) of the Prince George Spruce Kings and I will talk more about him below.
One issue I have with Hockey Canada is the exclusion of Canadians playing south of the border in the USHL. You have Michael Matheson (Dubuque/Boston College), Robert Polesello (Indiana/Boston University), and Ryan Lomberg (Muskegon/Maine) who are eligible for this tournament who are getting any consideration because they are in the USHL.
USA Hockey has gone to the North of Border to include Minnesota natives Mario Lucia (Minnesota Wild Draft Pick/Notre Dame) and Mike Reilly (Columbus Blue Jackets Draft Pick/Minnesota). Yes both NHL Draft picks and are good enough for this team, but so are the names that I mentioned above who are all eligible for next year’s draft.
Noah Hanifin D Boston College (Boston Junior Bruins/St.Sebastians)
Noah is the first 1997 born player to verbally commit to school in the nation. He won’t be on Chestnut Hill’s campus until 2015.
Greg Amlong D UMass-Lowell (Cedar Rapids USHL)
The Riverhawks will be getting a veteran defenseman next year. The 20-year old is off to a solid start with the Roughriders with two goals and four assists in seven games.
Ryan Belonger C Northeastern (Youngstown USHL)
Belonger looks like a solid two-way center in six games he has two goals and five assists. Last year he had 21 goals and 14 assists in 59 games.
Cam Darcy C Northeastern (USA U-18 NTDP USHL)
The Huskies got a huge re-commitment from Darcy who de-committed this summer after the coaching change was made decided Northeastern was for him after all. With the NTDP this season he has a goal and three assists in eleven games
Paul De Jersey RW Providence (Prince George BCHL)
Providence continues to get solid recruits under new Head Coach Nate Leeman. The right winger has 14 goals and 11 assists in 12 games this season.
Brian Harris D Maine (Boston Junior Bruins)