Photo of Delta Hockey Academy’s Bantam Prep Green team posted to deltahockeyacademy.com.

HOCKEY

Surrey-area players will compete for new WHL U.S. Challenge Cup

February tourney will involve 12 top-ranked Bantam teams from U.S. and Canada

With Delta Hockey Academy’s Bantam Green team and others, several Surrey-area players will battle for the inaugural WHL U.S. Challenge Cup in February.

Twelve of the top-ranked Bantam teams from the Western United States and Canada will play at the tournament in Kent, Washington from Feb. 20 to 23.

The schedule for the 18 round-robin games was announced Thursday (Jan. 23) by the WHL.

CLICK HERE to see the schedule.

Three Surrey-based players are on the DHA team, including 2005-born defenseman Carter Savage and 2006-born forwards Jordan Gavin and Thomas Mrsic. The Milan Dragicevic-coached roster, posted to deltahockeyacademy.com, includes players from across B.C. and as far afield as Alberta, Oregon and Manitoba.

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The 11 other teams in the WHL U.S. Challenge Cup are Dallas Stars Elite ‘05, Greater Vancouver Canadians, Los Angeles Junior Kings, Okanagan Rockets, Phoenix Junior Coyotes, San Diego Saints, San Jose Junior Sharks, Seattle Junior 14U Admirals, Team Alaska 14U, West Vancouver Warriors and Yale Academy.

Yale’s roster includes Cloverdale’s Brady Smith, a 2005-born goaltender, while the West Van team boasts ‘05 forward Grayden Slipic, of South Surrey.

At the Cup, games will be played at the 6,500-seat ShoWare Center – home of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds – and Kent Valley Ice Centre. The players will be given a first-hand look at the WHL player experience when they attend a WHL regular-season game between the Thunderbirds and visiting Portland Winterhawks on the Saturday night.

The tournament is planned by the WHL in partnership with NHL Seattle and Visit Kent.

“The 2020 WHL U.S. Challenge Cup will present an opportunity to showcase the next generation of American-born stars while also fostering grassroots-level growth in the game in the Pacific Northwest,” says the WHL release. “Many of the clubs competing at the (tournament) have produced WHL and NHL stars, including the likes of Seth Jones (Dallas Stars Elite/Portland Winterhawks), Scott Gomez (Team Alaska/Tri-City Americans) and Kailer Yamamoto (Los Angeles Jr. Kings/Spokane Chiefs).”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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