BC Hockey, in conjunction with the Western Hockey League (WHL), named the 20 players selected to play for Team BC at the 2017 WHL Cup against Team Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The WHL Cup takes place from October 18 – 22, 2017 at WinSport in Calgary.
Among the 20-player roster is Okanagan Hockey Academy (Penticton) product Wyatt Marlow of Cranbrook, who was selected by the Swift Current Broncos.
“On behalf of the Team B.C. staff, we are excited about this group of young men selected to play for Team BC at the 2017 WHL Cup,” said BC Hockey’s Male Program of Excellence (POE) Coordinator Fred Zweep. “There was a thorough evaluation process on selecting Team BC and we are looking forward to a highly competitive event.”
Video of Team B.C. player introductions from B.C. Hockey website
Team BC kicks off the 2017 WHL Cup on Wednesday, Oct. 18 against Team Saskatchewan. The team plays Team Alberta on Oct. 19, and Team Manitoba on Oct. 20. The tournament wraps up on Sunday, Oct. 22 with the bronze and gold medal matchups.
The WHL Cup, formerly known as the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup, features the highest-rated players in the under-16 age category from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The four team round-robin format is the first step in the Hockey Canada POE and assists the four western provincial hockey Branches in evaluating the top prospects in this age group for future high-performance programs. The WHL Cup is made possible through financial support provided by the WHL. The majority of players participating in the event were selected in the WHL Bantam Draft in May 2017 and many of these top prospects will play major roles with WHL clubs in the seasons ahead. Team BC last won the event in 2012.
Some notable players that have participated as part of Team BC include: Jake Virtanen – Vancouver Canucks, Morgan Rielly – Toronto Maple Leafs and Sam Reinhart – Buffalo Sabres.
The U16 Program is the second stage in the BC Hockey POE, which exposes players, coaches and officials to short term competition. The U16 Program also acts as a precursor to the Hockey Canada U17 POE, which is used to identify and train players and team personnel for provincial, regional and national teams.
Penticton Vees assistant coach Jason Becker is an assistant coach for the team. Steve O’Rourke of Summerland is the head coach.