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Golden Again: Elick Rapidly Becoming Go-To-Guy for Canada

May 16, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Brandon Wheat Kings News Release

It's early yet in the career of Wheat Kings' defenseman Charlie Elick but as far as Hockey Canada is concerned, the bruising blueliner is already a veteran.

Having represented his country at the World Under-17s and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup (winning gold at the latter), Elick was one of the first players Canada turned to when it came time to build their team for the World Under-18 Championships. The second-year blueliner delivered again, helping Canada to a gold medal at the event.

"It's another experience you dream of," Elick said. "When the time was ticking down there, it was kind of a blackout moment. Having the experience from Hlinka helped, but this was another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was really worth it."

Members of that Canadian team have spoken about how quickly they came together despite not playing together during the year the way some of their competition did. Part of that is because they've played together before with 14 players on this team having won gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last summer.

"This group is really close," said Elick. "Having that many guys back from that other gold medal team earlier was a big part of it. Coming into this tournament, knowing that we can win the gold medal was a big thing. This group really put everything we had toward the gold medal."

That's not to say their previous international experience made it easy. Even Elick, a veteran of the international game by now, noticed an elevated pace of play to this tournament, especially against an American squad that is usually a favorite at this event.

"Players get better over the year and it was a step forward, for sure," he said. "It was maybe a little better competition than we'd seen before...That game (against the Americans) was something we were looking forward to the whole tournament, building towards it in every game. When we played them, we were really riled up for it an energetic."

The tournament was also another demonstration for Elick of where he ranks in the minds of Hockey Canada's brass, and it painted a promising picture. He was, once again, a fixture on the team's penalty kill, their number-one defenseman on the right side, and the blueliner they trusted to anchor a pair with the team's youngest regular in Matthew Schaefer.

"Me being one of the only d-men back from the Hlinka was a big thing," Elick said. "Obviously (Henry) Mews and (Frankie) Marelli were there and we had experience, but I felt they relied on me quite a bit. I was used quite a bit over there."

Elick has now not only represented Canada three times, he's done so three times alongside teammate Roger McQueen. McQueen suffered an injury in the second game of the tournament, but stayed with the team for the remainder and shared the gold medal with Elick again.

"To play with that guy all season and then share that experience with him again was another outstanding thing," Elick said. "Being a teammate of his has been awesome and it's something that not a lot of teammates get to experience with one another."

McQueen had mentioned that he's got another tournament in mind for representing Canada again, and the same thought has occurred to Elick. After all, with all the success they've enjoyed internationally to this point, the World Juniors seems the next logical step for Elick, McQueen, and the rest of an outstanding class of 2006 born players for Canada.

"A bunch of those guys we played with are for sure contenders to play at the World Juniors and future Team Canada teams," Elick said. "With that, it's kind of in the back of my head of how this group could be a future group we would have in upcoming tournaments if every one of us keeps working at our game and getting better."

Elick is eligible for the 2024 NHL draft, and will take part in the combine at the end of May.

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Western Hockey League Stories from May 16, 2024

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