Griffin Mendel was speechless upon hearing he will wear the maple leaf in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (WU-17).
Mendel, the 16-year-old rookie defenceman for the Penticton Vees, said it’s an honour to wear the Team Canada jersey and represent his country.
“I didn’t know what to say, I was so excited,” said Mendel, who will play for one of Canada’s three teams in the WU-17 Hockey Challenge Nov.1-8 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.
Mendel said camp was difficult with all the sessions and training, though he still felt he performed well.
“I look forward to seeing the team I get named to and representing my country,” said Mendel.
Along with the Red, White and Black Canadian teams, the tournament features squads from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States. It is the second straight year the Vees have at least one player participating in the WU-17 Challenge. Last year Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro played in Sarnia, Ont.
Meanwhile, Fabbro, ranked eighth by the International Scouting Services for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, announced on Twitter that he has committed to the Boston University Terriers for next season. The Coquitlam product leads all BCHL defencemen in scoring with five goals and 16 points in 10 games. He was named to the BCHL All-Rookie team last year after putting up 33 points in 44 games.
Over the weekend, the Vees made it 10 wins in a row with a 5-1 victory in Chilliwack on Oct. 10.
Forty-seven seconds into the tilt, Tyson Jost set up Easton Brodzinski to give the Vees a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Fabbro scored to make it 2-0 and his goal held up as the winner after Kohen Olischefski made it 2-1 at 7:17 in the first. The Vees got two more in the opening frame by Brodzinski and Fabbro on the power-play, which finished two-for-five. The Vees outshot the Chiefs 25-9 in the first period. After a scoreless second period, Scott Conway scored an empty net goal at the 14-minute mark of the third period. Anthony Brodeur made 24 saves in the win. Conway earned player of the week honours for the second time as he potted four goals, two of them game-winners, and two assists in the three wins. Conway came up clutch in the Vees 4-3 overtime win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Oct. 9.
“Get the puck to Scotty and see what he can do,” said Vees assistant captain Colton Poolman, after coming out victorious in front of a crowd of 2,406. “He can find the back of the net. Put the puck in his hands and let him do what he can.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Vees connected with the Langley Rivermen for a trade. The Vees picked up Luke Voltin (95) in exchange for the playing rights of CHL listed player Griffin Foulk (95).
Voltin, 20, had a goal and two points in seven games with the Rivermen after coming over from the Vernon Vipers in an off-season trade. Last year, the six-foot, 195-pound forward had 10 goals and 26 points in 44 games. The Blaine, Minn., native is a graduate of the U.S. National Development Program out of Ann Arbor, Mich., and was a member of Team USA at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Voltin made his debut with the Vees on Saturday in Chilliwack and wore No.11.