The Western Hockey League, in partnership with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, Saskatchewan Hockey Association, Hockey Manitoba and Hockey Canada, announced today the rosters for the 2019 WHL Cup, which will begin Wednesday, October 23, at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary, Alta.
The WHL Cup features the highest-rated players in the under-16 age category from the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The tournament will take place from Wednesday, October 23 through Sunday, October 27.
Of the 80 players scheduled to compete, 77 were selected at the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
As five-time champions at the tournament, Alberta will boast another strong roster featuring six first-round selections from the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. Alberta’s roster features three of the top-five selections from the May draft, with defenceman Keaton Dowhaniuk (third overall, Prince George Cougars), as well as forwards Koehn Ziemmer (fourth overall, Prince George Cougars) and Nate Danielson (fifth overall, Brandon Wheat Kings) leading the team’s talented roster. Calgary’s Nicholas Jones (93rd overall, Brandon Wheat Kings) and Edmonton’s Justen Maric (98th overall, Red Deer Rebels) will tend to the crease.
Team British Columbia
British Columbia will field a strong roster for their title defence, including nine first-round selections from the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. B.C.’s top two selections from May’s draft lead the list of talent for the western-most province, with Mats Lindgren (seventh overall, Kamloops Blazers) and forward Brandon Lisowsky (ninth overall, Saskatoon Blades) leading their respective positions. Lindgren will be joined by fellow Blazer prospects Connor Levis (20th overall), Fraser Minten (72nd overall), and Cameron Johnson (86thoverall). Kolby Hay (62nd overall, Edmonton Oil Kings) and Kyle Kelsey (107th overall, Moose Jaw Warriors) will tend to the crease.
Following another bronze-medal finish in 2018, Manitoba is icing a roster looking to take that next step forward. Their 20-man team features three first-round selections from the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, led by forwards Conor Geekie (second overall, Winnipeg ICE) and Tyson Zimmer (sixth overall, Brandon Wheat Kings) and defenceman Denton Mateychuk (11th overall, Moose Jaw Warriors). Left wing Cayden Glover (25th overall, Medicine Hat Tigers) and defenceman Spencer Penner (29th overall, Seattle Thunderbirds) will add to the team’s depth. A pair of third-round selections in Reid Dyck (45th overall, Swift Current Broncos) and Matthew Kieper (63rd overall, Regina Pats) will protect the blue paint for Manitoba.
Eager to work their way back onto the podium in 2019, Saskatchewan will bring a motivated squad to Calgary in late October. This year’s team is led by defenceman Kevin Korchinski (10th overall, Seattle Thunderbirds), the top player from his province selected at last spring’s WHL Bantam Draft. Joining him will be five second-round selections, including defenceman Hunter Mayo (23rd overall, Red Deer Rebels), Kyren Gronick (27thoverall, Prince George Cougars), defenceman Kalem Parker (32nd overall, Victoria Royals), and right wing Carter Dereniwsky (39th overall, Victoria Royals). Rounding out the quintet of second-round choices is Dylan Ernst (28th overall, Kamloops Blazers), the top goaltender selected at May’s draft.
The tournament will be a four-team round-robin format and is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence for players.
About the WHL Cup
The majority of players participating in the event will have been selected in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft or have since been listed by WHL Clubs. The WHL Cup, formerly known as the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup, has been sponsored since 2009 by the WHL and has been made possible through financial support provided by the WHL, Hockey Manitoba, BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Hockey Canada.
This year will mark the eighth year of the event. The first ever WHL Cup was held in Blackfalds, Alta., in 2009 and featured four of the top eight players selected in the 2012 NHL Draft. In 2010, the WHL Cup was not contested due to the Canada Winter Games. In 2011, the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatchewan Hockey Association hosted the event at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Sask. In 2012, the tournament was hosted in Calgary at Father David Bauer Arena, the home of the WHL. In 2013, the tournament was again hosted in Calgary at Father David Bauer Arena. In 2014 and 2018, the WHL Cup was not contested due to the Canada Winter Games. Since 2015, the WHL Cup has been hosted in Calgary at the Markin MacPhail Centre.
Team Alberta is a five-time champion of the WHL Cup, hoisting the trophy in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016, while Team British Columbia won the event in 2012 and 2017.