One of three Penticton Vees defencemen made the Canada West team headed to the World Junior A Challenge.
Paul Stoykewych, who won a silver medal last year in the WJAC, is returning to Yarmouth, N.S. where the tournament begins Nov. 4. Alexandre Coulombe and Brett Beauvais were returned to the Vees.
“We are very excited as an organization for Paul, as this is an opportunity for him to compete against some of the best players in the world,” said Vees coach-GM Fred Harbinson in a team statement. “We wish Paul and the Canada West team luck in the upcoming tournament.”
Stoykewych is the 19th Vee to suit up for Team Canada West. Team Canada West’s first game is Nov. 4 when they face Switzerland. The Canada West team is represented by 11 players from the Alberta Junior Hockey League, 10 from the BCHL and one from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Penticton’s Adam Plant, who plays for the West Kelowna Warriors, also made the team.
As for Coulombe and Beauvais, Harbinson said from everything he was told, they were outstanding during the camp. “I’m pretty shocked that neither of them were kept, especially with Beauvais, leading the BCHL in scoring for defenceman,” said Harbinson. “He went there and produced points. He’s far from a defensive liability. I’m going off just NHL scouts, college scouts that were there and obviously box scores.”
When asked if Canada West coaches call about players, Harbinson said in the past he’s received calls from the coach to learn more about his players. That didn’t happen this year. Harbinson added that Coulombe and Beauvais having nothing to hang their heads about and the Vees are happy to have them back. Beauvais, who was looking forward to the possibility of playing near his hometown of Summerside, P.E.I., was disappointed.
“It was a great experience. I did my best and I had a lot of fun,” said Beauvais, who leads BCHL defenceman in scoring with 17, ranking him 31st among league scorers. “I’m excited to be back with the guys.”
Beauvais described the camp as intense and competitive. As far as receiving feedback from Canada West coach Jason McKee, who coaches the Spruce Grove Saints, Beauvais said he knew he would be in tough because teams can only carry five players born in 1994.
“I knew going into it I had to have a really good camp,” he said. “I’m happy with how I played and that’s all I can control.”
Coulombe also said it was a great experience and said it was different to skate on Olympic Ice.
In other Vees news, Harbinson confirmed doctor’s have cleared defenceman Blake Butzow’s to return to the Vees. Butzow had been recovering from meningitis. Harbinson is expecting Butzow back on Sunday.
“It’s still a ways away before he can start. He is going to have to get a lot of practice under his belt as he’s been off for months now,” said Harbinson. “It’s good news.”
The Vees don’t know when Butzow will make his way into the lineup.