The Lethbridge Hurricanes are very proud to congratulate several of their prospects on their selection for their respective U16 and U17 teams. Hurricanes 2010 1st round draft pick Jay Merkley has been selected to represent U16 Team Alberta at the 2011 Canada Winter Games – as announced this afternoon at a Hockey Alberta press conference in Edmonton. This news comes off the heels of Team BC’s U16 roster announcement in which the Hurricanes 2010 2nd round pick Macoy Erkamps was selected for Team BC and Hurricanes 2010 8th round pick Remi Laurencelle was selected for Team Manitoba. The 2011 Canada Winter Games will be held in Halifax, NS from February 10th to 18th.
Merkley is the Hurricanes highest draft pick ever in a WHL Bantam Draft and has shown his talents this season and along with teammate and fellow Team Alberta selection Morgan Klimchuk is one of three Calgary Buffaloes (AMHL) forwards currently residing in the top 5 of the Alberta Major Midget Hockey League scoring race. Merkley has tallied 30 points (9G,21A) in just 20 games as a 15 year old in the AMHL. Erkamps meanwhile is a right handed defenseman from Ladner, BC who was a standout for the South Delta AAA Bantams last season with 10 goals, 26 assists and 54 PIMs in 63 games and has been developing nicely this season with the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BC Major Midget Hockey League. Laurencelle was selected in the 8th round (157th overall) of the WHL draft whom the Hurricanes scouting staff had projected as an early round pick and he has 15 points (7G,8A) as a 15 year old with the Winnipeg Wild of the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League.
For these players - the tryout, selection and tournament process for these U16 teams is their first step in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence. Their selection for their provincial team comes as the result of strong showings during the season as well as at regional selection camps and tournaments. This year’s Canada Winter Games will feature some of the nation’s highest level 95-born talent. In the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse the Hurricanes were represented by Team Manitoba’s Travis Bobbee & Brayden Adamyk, Team Alberta’s Craig Orfino and Team Saskatchewan standout Carter Ashton.
The hockey club would also like to congratulate Jaimen Yakubowski on his selection to Team West for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge to be held December 28th to January 4th in Winnipeg and Portage la Prairie. Yakubowski was selected by the Hurricanes in the 4th round (77th overall) in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. Yakubowski is currently 4th in Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL) scoring where he has posted 34 points (10G,24A) and 70 PIMs in just 23 games. The U16 Team Saskatchewan roster has yet to be announced however the short list included Hurricanes 2010 draft picks Craig Leverton (2nd round – 25th overall) and Chris Thorimbert (10th round – 201st overall).
“This is a great step forward for these players and is a testament to the hard work and time put in by our scouting staff in identifying them as top level talents.” said Hurricanes GM and Head Coach Rich Preston “We hope they all take the most away from their opportunities while taking the time to savor and enjoy the experience.”
(News Release provided by Ryan Ohashi, Hurricanes Director of Media Relations)
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