Dozens of the best Junior A hockey players from Canada, the United States, Russia, and Czech Republic will show off their skills starting Dec. 9 in Bonnyville, Alberta.
Unfortunately for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), none of its players will be participating.
Canada West, a team comprised of Junior A leagues in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, revealed their roster on Dec. 5 with the SJHL exempt this year.
Bill Chow, the president of the SJHL, told northeastNOW it’s disappointing his league won’t have any players a part of this year’s Canada West team but mentioned he’s the not the one making decisions.
“You want to think the staff that’s there is selecting the best players available and everybody has a different perspective on it, and that’s their perspective,” Chow said. “Unfortunately for the SJHL, that’s the way it is this year.”
Chow mentioned Estevan Bruins head coach Chris Lewgood, who’s serving as an assistant coach for Canada West, is part of the staff helping decide the best team to ice.
The SJHL had two players on Canada West during the 2017 World Junior A Challenge. When asked if this year’s exception caused any concern for the SJHL’s talent level, Chow said it didn't as there are only so many players (22) who end up on the team.
“It’s a big age group,” Chow said. “Some of those cards are dictated by the way they select the team. You can’t take a look at how there are no Saskatchewan kids there, you have to take a look at how the team is selected.
“Being certain age groups, there are only so many picks allowed because obviously they want age kids who are eligible for the [NHL] draft but they also want to make sure the team is competitive with the other teams that are coming.”
The World Junior A Showcase goes from Sunday, Dec. 9 to 16 in Bonnyville, Alberta.
On Twitter: @SchulzePANow
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