Team West will be a big, strong skilled team with hopes of winning a gold medal at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge.
The team, put together of the top skaters from Manitoba and Saskatchewan was announced on Tuesday with some local talent named to the roster. Moose Jaw Warriors forwards Josh Uhrich and Miles Warkentine as well as Midget AAA Generals forward Rhett Gardner was named to the team.
Warriors Assistant General Manager and head scout, Rob Maclachlan was instrumental in putting this team together along with the coaching staff. He wanted this team to be big and skilled.
“I think we have a little of everything. I think that was what I wanted to change and I wanted to take a hockey team that your first line is skilled, the second line is skilled, the third line is a hard line to play against and the fourth line is the shut down line,” Maclachlan explained. “On forwards, we are fast, big and very skilled. On defence, we are big, but mobile. I think our top four defencemen are going to be as good as anybody at this tournament.”
There was a summer camp in Wilcox where 68 kids were invited. The players were then watched throughout their seasons and the list was cut down until the team was chosen.
“I watched them all play and we started the elimination process on a matter of how well they are playing from the start of the season to Nov. 15. I had a conference call with the coaches and we put the team together,” said Maclachlan.
The players received an email from the coaching staff stating if they had made the team or not. Warkentine got a phone call from his parents earlier in the day with the good news.
“It is a big honor. There are so many great players between the two provinces,” Warkentine said. “Especially missing so much time as I did, it was nice to get the recognition from them knowing that I had a good camp and playing well before I got hurt.”
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.