After a few years of being overlooked, three Drumheller Dragons have a chance to represent their country at the 2017 World Junior A Challenge.
On Monday afternoon, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League selected 60 players to attend the Team Canada West selection camp. Of the 15 players from the AJHL invited, three are from the Drumheller Dragons. They will be joined by their coach Kevin Hasselberg, who was selected as a guest coach.
“It’s an opportunity to help a team that is a reflection of your country and of your league”, said Hasselberg. “It is pretty hard not to get involved in that. It is an honour and certainly an opportunity for me to get better working with some incredible coaches.”
Invited to the tryouts are 19-year-old goalie Hunter Virostek, 18-year-old forward Markus Boguslavsky and 19-year-old forward Jordan Taupert.
Virostek has been having a great season, playing in 20 games with a 12-8 record and a 0.905 save per cent.
Boguslavsky has 13 goals and eight assists in 24 games.
“Markus is up and coming as well. He is only a 1999-born player, but he plays much like he has been in the league two or three years and that is what has brought attention to him. He has been successful around the net and plays to his strengths,” said Hasselberg.
Taupert is in fourth place in the league in points, tallying 32 in 25 games, 13 of which are from goals.
“He has been one of the top scorers in the league. And that is even harder as a 19-year-old because they can only keep three in total on that whole roster, so you don’t want to invest a lot of time watching a bunch of 19-year-olds when you can only carry three,” said Hasselberg. “For him to get identified and brought into that picture is more special.”
The list of 60 will be in Calgary from December 2-5 for the selection camp. The players trying out would only miss one game for the selection camp. If they are successful and make the West team, they will be playing for a portion of December.
The World Junior A Challenge will be played in Atlantic Canada. Team West will open the tournament against the Czech Republic on December 10.