Penticton player makes Team B.C.

BC Hockey announced its under-16 roster for the 2015 Canada Winter Games Feb.13 – March 1, in Prince George.

Penticton's Ethan O'Rourke of the Okanagan Hockey Academy was selected to the BC Hockey under-16 roster for the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

Penticton's Ethan O'Rourke of the Okanagan Hockey Academy was selected to the BC Hockey under-16 roster for the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

BC Hockey announced its under-16 roster for the 2015 Canada Winter Games  Feb.13 – March 1, in Prince George.

The 20-player roster includes Penticton’s Ethan O’Rourke of the Okanagan Hockey Academy. Also on the roster from the OHA are goalie Jordan Hollett, defencemen Griffin Mendel, Scott Walford and forwards Jordan Bellerive, Michael Rasmussen. Jordan Robinson, Brendan Semchuk and Chase Stevenson.

Andy Oakes, president of the Okanagan Hockey Group, which operates the OHA, said it’s a big year for the Canada Winter Games being hosted in B.C.

“It will be an amazing experience for the players,” he said. “For us to have that many players named is quite an accomplishment, kudos to the players, families and coaches working with them over last year.”

Oakes added it’s a big thing for the OHA and shows that the program is working and develops good players and kids.

“You have these years where you have a special crop,” said Oakes. “Nine is a little more than we would normally see. It’s nice to see the kids recognized.”

Oakes described O’Rourke as a big (six-foot-four, 173 pound) lanky forward.

“He’s a smart player,” said Oakes of O’Rourke, who was drafted by the Prince George Cougars. “He can play the game with his skill and body size well. Like any young guy, he is growing into his body, Learning how it is going to mature and physically develop. He is having a good season and a great kid to boot.”

“The Team BC evaluation staff has put on thousands of miles and countless hours to get to this place in our journey, but after looking at our completed roster, I am extremely excited at challenge that lies ahead,” said Team BC head coach Jim Didwoodie in a release.  “Hearing the excitement in the boys’ voices after making the calls makes the whole process worth it.

“Our roster has depth in all three areas with elite level skill and a very high hockey IQ,” continued Didwoodie.  “You can see the depth in our roster.  Our challenge will be to bring them together and have a singular focus on competing for gold.  We now have to focus on the task at hand and our preparation to compete for gold in our home province in front of our fans in Prince George.  We are hoping this extra motivation will help us get there.”