18 year old Tayler Balog has been named one of seven SJHL players invited by Dean Brockman and the Canada West Coaching Staff to attend the World Junior A Challenge Camp in Calgary.
The camp, which begins Sunday night, will see Balog joined by SJ'ers Tyler Kauk(Estevan, D), Josh Betinol(Battlefords, F), Brett Boehm(Flin Flon, F), Rhyse Dieno(La Ronge, F), Dylan McCombie(Flin Flon, F) and Russell Trudeau(Melville, F).
Of the 7 SJHL players selected, 3 of which call Saskatchewan home during the off season. Another interesting stat, there are 8 players on this list that live east of Manitoba(Ont and Que). This stat, I don't feel should exist.
There are some very quality Hockey players from the SJHL who got passed over potentially because of players who would normally be on the Team Canada East Roster, and I'm sure players from the MJHL and SIJHL as well.
Because we're all from Canada, it's a hard issue to argue against. I feel this is conflicting with a similar situation last year. Mario Lucia was playing for Penticton in the BCHL yet played for Team USA - I know Canada 'West' and 'East' aren't their own nations, but for me the pride is the same and I feel the WJAC should be a 'play where you're from, not where you play' situation not just for international players..
Aside from that, this is an extremely exciting opportunity for all of these players; with 7 returning players from last years team Gold Medal winning team, including last years top 2 team scorers, Canada West should be in for a fun ride this November in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.
With alumni such as Jaden Schwartz and Nail Yakupov, the WJAC is a week of exciting hockey beginning with exhibition beginning not this Friday, but next. Last year, West beat East in the Final in Langley, thanks to a multi-point effort from Alex Kerfoot, who is among the returnees.
Canada West opens the tournament vs the Czech Republic on Tuesday, November 9th at 1:00 Central time, 4:00 Atlantic time. The games can be viewed free thanks to FASTHockey. Click that link and you're on the broadcast page, just sign up and go!