Two Merritt Centennials players, Regan Soquila and Reece Willcox, can be forgiven for being out of town, and missing most of this week’s Cents’ practices.
The talented two-some have been in Canmore, Alberta since Sunday, attending the first evaluation camp for Team West and the World Junior A Challenge, scheduled for the Langley Events Centre from November 7 – 13 of this year.
A total of 60 Junior A players from the British Columbia Hockey League, the Alberta Junior Hockey League, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the Superior International Junior Hockey League were chosen to participate in this first of two evaluation camps.
The selections were made by Canada West head coach Kent Lewis (Powell River, BCHL), along with assistants Dean Brockman (Humboldt, SJHL) and Andrew Milne (Canmore, AJHL).
“There is a tremendous amount of talent to choose from in Western Canada, and we’re excited about the 60 players we’ve invited to camp,” said Lewis in Hockey Canada press release issued September 9. “These players represent the best of Junior A hockey in the west.”
Merritt Centennials’ head coach and GM Luke Pierce was both pleased and proud of the selection of two of his players to the Canada West evaluation camp.
“I think that they’re both very deserving,” he said on Tuesday of this week. “They both have a very good chance of making the final roster.”
Pierce went on to add that the entire Cen-tennials’ team should feel a sense of achievement.
“I told all the players, when we first found out, that they should be just as proud as the guys chosen. They [Soquila and Willcox] didn’t get there without playing with good teammates.”
Canada West’s evaluation camp roster includes six goaltenders, 18 defensemen and 36 forwards. Twenty-four of the 60 players selected are from the BCHL, 17 from the AJHL, 10 from the SJHL, five from the MJHL and four from the SIJHL.
At the World Junior A Challenge in Langley, Canada West will play in Group A along with Sweden and the United States. Group B will consist of Canada East, Russia and the Czech Republic.