Surrey-raised hockey player Luka Burzan in action with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. (Photo: Brandi Pollock/Wheat Kings)

Surrey-raised hockey player Luka Burzan in action with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. (Photo: Brandi Pollock/Wheat Kings)

HOCKEY

‘Memorial eCup’ games to keep junior players plugged in, including Surrey’s Burzan

WHL veteran’s pro dream is on hold as he skates in Kelowna

Like other WHL players during the COVID-19 pandemic, Luka Burzan is just trying to keep his legs moving.

The Surrey-raised sniper, a Brandon Wheat Kings veteran and Colorado Avalanche draft pick, is skating twice a week at a rink in Kelowna, where he now lives.

“Nothing too crazy,” Burzan said. “I’m skating with a lot of pro guys like (Damon) Severson, who plays for New Jersey (Devils), and (Brent) Seabrook, a lot of people know him, and a lot of other guys, too, and there’s really no better place to get better than skate with guys like that.”

Still, he’d rather being play meaningful games, but the WHL season has been delayed until the first week of January, at the earliest.

“I’ve been hanging out with family and some friends, a tight circle, and honestly it’s a little boring without hockey right now,” Burzan admitted. “I feel like I’m missing a big part of my life not being in Brandon and playing, and those guys are like my brothers. It’s been weird.”

One activity that will keep Burzan busy is the new Memorial eCup presented by Kia, a 64-team eSports tournament featuring all 60 CHL clubs, plus four “distinguished hockey personalities” as guest participants.

The “NHL 21” video-game tournament will be played from Nov. 28 to Dec. 17 on the Sony PlayStation 4 system, with Burzan chosen to represent his Wheat Kings.

“I was asked by the team if I wanted to do it, and I thought it’d be fun and a pretty cool experience, kinda cool,” Burzan said. “I’ve been missing some competitiveness, so trying to win something like that would be really good, and I think it will be a cool experience for sure.”

The online action is designed to keep junior-hockey fans engaged at a time when on-ice games aren’t happening.

Burzan said he plays the video game “a fair amount, and I think I should do pretty well, but I don’t know, there are a lot of players involved, more than 60 of us, so I’ll try to make it as far as I can,” he said. “It’ll be hard to win, and some luck will be involved. They’ll have it on Facebook Live and Twitch, so the fans should love it, and it’ll be fun. They’ll get to know the players a bit more, their personalities, so it should be good that way.”

Viewers can tune in via CHL.ca/MemorialeCup and on social media using the hashtag #KiaCHLeCup.

• RELATED STORY, from 2019: Rocky Mountain high: Surrey’s Burzan picked in NHL draft by Colorado Avalanche.

In June 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Burzan was selected in the NHL Entry Draft by the Avalanche, 171st overall. At the time, the left-shot centre had spent the previous three seasons in the WHL with the Wheat Kings and also Moose Jaw Warriors.

Now 20, the Surrey Minor Hockey Association product, who grew up in the Guildford area, had hoped to have a good showing at Avs training camp this past September, but COVID ended those plans.

“They’re really good, and check on me all the time,” Burzan said of the Denver-based club. “I asked them about camp but right now they have no idea how it’s going to look, and hopefully we’ll know soon,” he said about the coming NHL season, targeted to start in January. “With the borders being closed, that’s a bit of a problem. There are so many cases down there.”

Burzan said he felt he had “a pretty good chance of going to camp and proving myself,” prior to the pandemic.

“Everyone’s goal is to go there and make the NHL, right, and I think I had at least a chance to make the American Hockey League (affiliate team) and get some experience there, but you know what, nobody expected a pandemic to happen,” Burzan noted. “So right now I’m just trying to get better each and every day, and everyone’s going through the same thing. Hopefully this will all be over soon and we can get back to work. But even with (the WHL), Manitoba is code-red. We’ll see.”

As for the Memorial eCup, the competition starts as a single-elimination tournament, with semifinal and final-round action then seeing players go head-to-head in a best-of-three format.

Other CHL players signed up include Vancouver Giants’ Trevor Longo along with former Giant Lukas Svejkovsky, now with Medicine Hat Tigers.

Meantime, Vancouver Giants have loaned out two players to junior leagues under a new arrangement designed to give athletes competitive playing time while they wait for the WHL season to resume.

One deal will see 2003-born forward Justin Lies head to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers through Dec. 20 of this year. The Giants have also loaned 2002-born forward Krz Plummer to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Whitecourt Wolverines.

• READ MORE: Vancouver Giants loan out players under new arrangement.

In other Giants news, the club has hired Manitoba native Keith McCambridge as an associate coach. McCambridge spent 10 seasons coaching in the American Hockey League, with Hartford Wolf Pack, Manitoba Moose and St. John’s IceCaps. Additionally, he spent six seasons with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces where he served as a head coach (2007-2009), an assistant coach (2006-07) and a player/coach (2003-2006).



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

hockeyvideo gamesWHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A police officer aims a radar gun at oncoming traffic during a school-zone speed trap traffic blitz outside Peace Arch Elementary in 2017. (File photo)
White Rock council heeds residents’ plea for better speed signage

Roper Avenue concerns note proximity of two elementary schools

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Most Read