CALGARY, AB – The Canadian Hockey League and the Western Hockey League today announced the players and coaching staff competing in the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge for Team WHL.
The sixth annual ADT Canada Russia Challenge will take place November 17th to 27th, 2008 in Canada as Canadian Hockey League All-Star Teams, from each of its three member Leagues (WHL, OHL and QMJHL), take on the Russian National Junior Team in a six game series.
Team WHL was selected by a special committee of WHL General Managers along with Al Murray, Hockey Canada’s Head Scout for the Canadian National Junior Team, as part of the selection process for the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships.
The complete Team WHL roster consists of 25 players – two goalies, eight defenceman and 15 forwards. Top NHL prospects for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft including Brayden Schenn (Brandon Wheat Kings), Jared Cowen (Spokane Chiefs) and Evander Kane (Vancouver Giants) will compete in the series along with seven first round draft picks from the 2008 NHL Entry including Kyle Beach (Everett Silvertips), Tyler Myers (Kelowna Rockets) and Colten Teubert (Regina Pats).
The two WHL games will be hosted in the province of Saskatchewan by the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday, November 26th and the Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday, November 27th. Game tickets are available at the Prince Albert Raiders office (306) 764-4263 and at the Swift Current Broncos office (306) 773-1509 Ext. 1.
Since the introduction of the ADT Canada Russia Challenge in 2003, Team WHL has posted a 9-1 record against the Russian National Junior Team, outscoring their opponent 52-17. Overall the Canadian Hockey League has a 25-5 record during the ADT Canada Russia Challenge.
The WHL also announced today that Canadian National Junior Team Assistant Coach Willie Desjardins of the Medicine Hat Tigers will serve as Head Coach while the 2007-08 WHL Coach of the Year Don Nachbaur, of the Tri-City Americans, will act as Assistant Coach. Also, Broncos General Manager/Head Coach Dean Chynoweth will be an Assistant Coach during the Swift Current game and Raiders General Manager/Head Coach Bruno Campese will serve as Assistant Coach for the Prince Albert game.
“We are looking forward to bringing this major international series to two of our long standing small markets in Saskatchewan,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, “It is the only time our top Canadian Players in the WHL have the opportunity to compete against their historic rivals from Russia.”
Last year the CHL posted a 4-2 record during the series and have won the past five ADT Canada Russia Challenges which has coincided with the Canadian National Junior Team going on to win four straight gold medals at the World Junior Championship.
2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge Schedule of Games
Game 1 – Monday, November 17 in Sydney, NS
Game 2 – Wednesday, November 19 in Saint John, NB
Game 3 – Thursday, November 20 in Guelph, ON
Game 4 – Monday, November 24 in St. Catherines, ON
Game 5 – Wednesday, November 26 in Swift Current, SK
Game 6 – Thursday, November 27 in Prince Albert, SK
All six games will be broadcast nationally on Rogers Sportsnet with RDS televising both games from the QMJHL.
The following is the list of WHL players participating in the 2008 ADT Canada Russia Challenge:
Forwards (15): Club: Hometown:
Bast, Jason Moose Jaw Moose Jaw, SK
Beach, Kyle* Everett Kelowna, BC
Benn, Jamie Kelowna Victoria, BC
Boychuk, Zach* Lethbridge Airdrie, AB
Broda, Joel Moose Jaw Prince Albert, SK
Calvert, Matt Brandon Brandon, MB
Eberle, Jordan* Regina Regina, SK
Ennis, Tyler* Medicine Hat Edmonton, AB
Kane, Evander** Vancouver Vancouver, BC
Kozun, Brandon Calgary Calgary, AB
Sceviour, Colton Lethbridge Red Deer, AB
Schenn, Braydon** Brandon Saskatoon, SK
Sonne, Brett Calgary Maple Ridge, BC
Sylvester, Dustin Kootenay Kelowna, BC
Tyrell, Dana Prince George Airdire, AB
Defence (8): Club: Hometown:
Aulie, Keith Brandon Rouleau, SK
Cowen, Jared** Spokane Allan, SK
Hamonic, Travis Moose Jaw St. Malo, MB
Hickey, Thomas* Seattle Calgary, AB
Myers, Tyler* Kelowna DeWinton, AB
Negrin, John Kootenay Vancouver, BC
Spurgeon, Jared Spokane Edmonton, AB
Teubert, Colten Regina White Rock, BC
Goaltenders (2): Club: Hometown:
Pickard, Chet* Tri-City Americans Winnipeg, MB
Tokarski, Dustin Spokane Watson, SK
* First round pick 2008 NHL Entry Draft
** 1991 birth-dates eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft
My friend Guy Flamming over at Coming Down the Pipe! had an interesting take on the ADT Canada Russia Challenge. He says make the team draft eligible and players that were privously passed over in the draft to showcase their stuff in front of the scouts. Russia hasn't taking the initative to field the best team possible for this event. The games will be more competative I think. It's not like Hockey Canada doesn't see the players during the season.
Flamming's partner Dean Millard disagress with him. He makes an interesting point about Kyle Beach and how this event could help Beach.
Beach of the Everett Silvertips, has had off ice issues, and was a problem child at the U-18's a couple of years ago, when he taped "TEAM OHL" over the Team Canada logo on his jersey, implying that head coach Dave Barr was giving preferential treatment to those from the Ontario Hockey League.Beach was using his freedom of speech. Do I agree on what he did but I think Hockey Canada should move past that. He could be a player that Canada could use "for the drive for 5 in Ottawa."
Has Hockey Canada punished him enough? I say yes, as he is exactly the type of player that can help them drive for 5 in Ottawa. Invite him to camp, if he's acting up, send him home, if he's not keep him and let him start repairing his damaged reputation. That's what HC did with Steve Downie in 2006.
Both make great points and glad each side was presented. The CHL wants to make money and if it isn't an all-star roster, fans won't go through the turnstiles, for the CHL and the three leagues that represent the CHL, that's a problem if the building empty. That's why Guy's proposal won't work.
How about a new country for this event? Instead of Russia, how about the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Finland or Sweden? The Czech Republic and Slovakia would be the easiest because they have plethora of players playing in the CHL. That would mean more players from the CHL participating. Slovakia already has an Under 20 team that plays in the Slovakia Extraliga. It would give them confidence heading into the World Juniors. The Czech Republic would have plenty of talented players to make it competitive. Same with Finland and could see their true World Junior team. Sweden is unlikely because most of their top players are playing in the Swedish Elite League and I can't see a Victor Hedman or Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson type coming over. It would just be facing Russia over again.
That's My Take
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com)