Local players make the cut for the Team WHL 2016 CIBC Canada-Russia series | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Local players make the cut for the Team WHL 2016 CIBC Canada-Russia series

Image Credit: WHL
October 20, 2016 - 1:28 PM

CALGARY, AB - The Western Hockey League, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League, Prince George Cougars, Edmonton Oil Kings and Hockey Canada, announced today the roster for Team WHL, which will compete against Team Russia at the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series.

Kelowna Rockets players Nick Merkley, Dillon Dube, and Cal Foote have all been named to the Team WHL roster. Merkley, an Arizona Coyotes first round draft pick is in his fourth season with the Rockets. Dube was drafted in the second round of the NHL draft by the Calgary Flames. Foote is a projected top 10 NHL draft pick in this summer’s upcoming draft.

Team WHL will face Team Russia in Game 1 of the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series in Prince George, B.C. on Monday, November 7th, before continuing on to Edmonton for Game 2 on Tuesday, November 8th. The Ontario Hockey League will host Games 3 and 4, while the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will welcome the festivities surrounding Games 5 and 6.

Team WHL’s roster is laced with NHL prospects yet again this season, including 10 players who were selected in the first two rounds of the NHL Draft. Highly-touted 2017 NHL Draft prospects Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings/Winnipeg, MB) and Cal Foote (Kelowna Rockets/Engelwood, CO) also cracked the roster for Team WHL as players look to move closer to earning a spot on Team Canada at the upcoming IIHF World Junior Championship in December.

Prince George Cougars forward Jansen Harkins, a second round pick of the Winnipeg Jets, will have the opportunity to suit up for Team WHL in front of a hometown crowd when the series opens in Prince George on November 7th.

When the series shifts to Edmonton on November 8th, a total of five local players will suit up against Team Russia including Edmonton native and Oilers prospect Tyler Benson (Vancouver Giants). Giorgio Estephan (Lethbridge Hurricanes/Edmonton, AB), Sam Steel (Regina Pats/Sherwood Park, AB), Brendan Guhle (Prince Albert Raiders/Sherwood Park, AB) and Carter Hart(Everett Silvertips/Sherwood Park, AB) will also have the opportunity to take to the ice in front of family and friends.

Each of the three CHL member Leagues assembled a selection committee, working closely with Hockey Canada, to select the players for this year’s series. This year, Team WHL will be coached by Tim Hunter (Moose Jaw Warriors) who will also serve as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. Edmonton Oil Kings head coach Steve Hamilton will serve as assistant coach for Team WHL.

The six-game series features regional league teams of Canadian National Junior Team candidates competing against the Russian National Junior Team. For the third straight season, the event will open with two games in the WHL.

Since the event first began in 2003, CHL teams have played to an overall record of 54-18-6 against Team Russia.  The competitiveness of the rivalry has grown in recent years with four of the last six series decided in the final game.  Russia earned their first series victory in 2010 and have since alternated annual series victories with the CHL who earned the 2015 title by a 12-3 margin in points.

The event is an integral part of the identification process for Team Canada prior to the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.  Canada was represented at this season’s World Junior in Finland by 21 CHL players who competed in this series in 2015, while 13 members of Team Russia’s series entry also competed in Helsinki earning a second straight silver medal.

The 2016 CIBC Canada Russia series is supported by CHL associate sponsors Cooper Tire, autoTRADER.ca and Sherwin-Williams.  All games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series Schedule:

  • Game 1 – Monday November 7 at Prince George, BC
  • Game 2 – Tuesday November 8 at Edmonton, AB
  • Game 3 – Thursday November 10 at North Bay, ON
  • Game 4 – Monday November 14 at Hamilton, ON
  • Game 5 – Tuesday November 15 at Chicoutimi, QC
  • Game 6 – Thursday November 17 at Baie-Comeau, QC

Visit chlcanadarussia.ca for more information, including how to purchase tickets.

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