On Wednesday of last week, Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), announced the 22 players that will represent Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, December 14 to 20 at the West Central Events Centre in Kindersley, Sask.

The roster was chosen by Canada West head coach Trent Cassan along with assistant coaches Marc Berry, Tim Fragle and Luke Pierce (who is head coach and GM of the Merritt Centennials).

Players named to the Canada West roster were selected from the CJHL’s five western Junior A leagues: the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).

“There were no easy decisions for us coming out of selection camp (in Calgary). These 22 young men earned their spots on the Canada West roster,” Cassan said. “We’re excited to get on the road for Kindersley and continue the proud tradition Canada West has created at the World Junior A Challenge.”

The 22-player roster includes two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. There are nine players each from the BCHL and AJHL, three players from the SJHL and one player from the MJHL. Five of the 22 players were on the Canada West team at the 2013 WJAC in Nova Scotia.

Five of the 22 players are 19 years old, nine are 18 years old, six are 17 years old and two are 16 years old.

Invited to attend the three-day Canada West selection camp in Calgary but not chosen to the final 22-player roster was third-year Merritt Centennials forward Diego Cuglietta.

The 19-year-old Cuglietta was also invited to the 2013 Canada West selection camp along with Cents forward Jeff Wight, who went on to compete at the World Junior A Challenge — the third Merritt Centennial to do so. Casey Pierro-Zabotel (twice) and Reese Willcox also competed in earlier WJAC competitions.

Canada West will play in Group B at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, along with Denmark and Russia. Group A will consist of Canada East, the United States and Switzerland.

Preliminary round action began on December 14 in Kindersley. It continues until December 16. Quarterfinals take place on December 17, semifinals on December 18 and the medal games on December 19 and 20.

Canada West played one exhibition game prior to the start of the WJAC, losing 6-3 to the United States on December 12 in Eston, Sask.

On the same day, Russia defeated Canada East 5-2 and Denmark topped Saskatchewan’s   Rosetown Redwings 6-0.

Canada West has appeared in six of the eight gold-medal games at the World Junior A Challenges, winning in 2006, 2007 and 2011.

TEAM CANADA WEST ROSTER

GOALIES

Tommy Nixon             Sherwood Park (AJHL)
Evan Weninger             Kindersley (SJHL)

DEFENCE

Connor James             Spruce Grove (AJHL)
Gabe Bast             Penticton (BCHL)
Griffin Mumby         Canmore (AJHL)
Viktor Dombrovskiy         Prince George (BCHL)
Dante Fabbro             Penticton (BCHL)
Carmine Buono         Powell River (BCHL)
Connor Hobbs             Nipawin (SJHL)

FORWARDS

Jackson Keane             Winnipeg (MJHL)
Rhett Gardner             Okotoks (AJHL)
Tyson Jost             Penticton (BCHL)
Ryley Risling             Canmore (AJHL)
Cody Young             Kindersley (SJHL)
Paul Lovsin             Spruce Grove (AJHL)
Kurt Keats             Powell River (BCHL)
Mitchell Vanderlaaden     Fort McMurray (AJHL)
Demico Hannoun         Penticton (BCHL)
Tyler Busch             Spruce Grove (AJHL)
Sheldon Rempal         Nanaimo (BCHL)
Cole Gammer             Sherwood Park (AJHL)
Marcus Vela             Langley (BCHL)

COACHES

Head Coach    Trent Cassan, Yorkton (SJHL)
Asst. Coach    Tim Fragle, Sherwood Park (AJHL)
Asst. Coach    Luke Pierce, Merritt (BCHL)
Asst. Coach    Marc Berry, Dauphin (MJHL)