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Seven WHL Players to Represent Hockey Canada at 2024 IIHF U18 World Championship

April 16, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL) News Release


Calgary, Alta. - A total of seven Western Hockey League players have been selected to represent Canada at the 2024 IIHF U18 World Championship in Espoo and Vantaa, Finland.

Hockey Canada announced the National Men's Under-18 Team Tuesday morning.

Five WHL Clubs will be represented on the 2024 Canadian National Men's Under-18 Team. The Brandon Wheat Kings and Calgary Hitmen boast two players each, while the Kamloops Blazers, Medicine Hat Tigers and Prince Albert Raiders are also represented.

The 2024 IIHF World U18 Championship is scheduled to be played from Thursday, April 25 through Sunday, May 5 in Espoo and Vantaa, Finland.

Canada's Men's National Under-18 Team - WHL Players

Last Name First Name Team Hometown Ht Wt Pos

Brunicke Harrison Kamloops Blazers Calgary, Alta. 6'3" 187 D

Hamilton Reese Calgary Hitmen Whitewood, Sask. 6'0" 170 D

Elick Charlie Brandon Wheat Kings Calgary, Alta. 6'3" 199 D

McKenna Gavin Medicine Hat Tigers Whitehorse, Yukon 6'0" 183 F

McQueen Roger Brandon Wheat Kings Saskatoon, Sask. 6'5" 190 F

Ritchie Ryder Prince Albert Raiders Kelowna, B.C. 6'0" 173 F

Wetsch Carson Calgary Hitmen North Vancouver, B.C. 6'2" 187 F

Invited to the roster but unable to participate are forwards Berkly Catton (Spokane Chiefs / Saskatoon, Sask.) and Cayden Lindstrom (Medicine Hat Tigers / Chetwynd, B.C.).

The roster was selected by Hockey Canada head scout Byron Bonora (Brooks, Alta.) and Benoit Roy (Sudbury, Ont.), senior manager of hockey operations. The evaluation process included input from goaltending consultant Justin Pogge (Penticton, B.C.) and analytics consultant Gianfranco Giuliano (Toronto, Ont.), in addition to the entire scouting staff.

Four WHL players - Elick, McQueen, Ritchie, and Wetsch - return to Canada's U18 team after helping their nation capture gold at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Canada's coaching staff features assistant coach Ryan Smith (Spokane Chiefs / Headingley, Man.) and goaltending coach Dan De Palma (Kamloops Blazers / Kamloops, B.C.). The support staff includes athletic therapist Jimmy McKnight (Edmonton Oil Kings / Barrie, Ont.) and Dr. Michael Conrad (Victoria Royals / Vancouver, B.C.).

"We are excited to bring this calibre of young athletes together to begin working with our coaching staff," Roy said. "Having players who already know how to compete in a short-term tournament will also bring valuable experience and leadership to our team in our quest for a gold medal."

Prior to the start of the tournament, Canada will play two pre-tournament games against Finland on Saturday, April 20 and Norway on Tuesday, April 23. Tournament play begins Thursday, April 25 at 10 a.m. MT when Canada faces Sweden. Canada will take on Czechia on Friday, April 26, Switzerland on Sunday, April 28, and Kazakhstan on Tuesday, April 30 to close out preliminary-round action. The semifinals are set for Saturday, May 4, with the tournament and medal games concluding Sunday, May 5.

TSN and RDS, Hockey Canada's official broad cast partners, will air select games, including all Team Canada games and all playoff-round games. Check your local listings for details.

Since 2002, Canada has won four gold medals as the IIHF U18 World Championship (2003, 2008, 2013, 2021), in addition to one silver (2005) and four bronze (2012, 2014, 2015, 2023).

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada's National Men's Under-18 Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook, X, and Instagram.


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