Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Hurricanes Prospects Taking the Next Step

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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  1. Pat what about the other prospects, do you have any info on how they are doing and where they are ? It would be nice to also follow the future canes could you do a report card on them


  2. Hey R.J.

    I don't have a complete list but in addition to those players listed in Ryan's press release there are a couple of other Canes prospects I have been following quite closely so far this season.

    Tayler Balog (16 year old) who is also in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League playing for Tisdale this season is currently tied for 22nd in league scoring with 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points in 20 games played. He is the Captain for Tisdale which currently sits 6th in the 12 team league with a record of 11-6-1-2. Yakubowski plays for Beardy's. His team is ranked 8th with a record of 9-12-3-1.

    Tanner Kovacs a goaltender who we have already seen this year with the Canes is the current top goalie statistically in the Alberta Midget AAA League. With his club team St. Albert he has been lights out with a record of 9-2-2 with 2 shutouts. His GAA is 1.90 and he has a .924 save percentage. St. Albert has the best record in the league right now at 14-4-2. Kovacs is a major reason why!

    Samuel Mckechnie UFA Bisons in 20 games has 7 goals and 14 assists for 21 points. UFA is a respectable 11-5-4, 3rd in the South Division. Both guys will be playing in the Mac's starting Boxing Day in Calgary. Look forward to seeing them there!

    16 year old Adam Henry is playing Midget AAA in Winnipeg. He has played in a handful of games with the Canes this year has 4 goals 10 assists, 14 points in 21 games. Decent numbers for a rookie D-man in that league. His club has been super so far this year. They are 17-2-0-2 in league play.

    17 year old local D-man Brandyn Hulit is another D-man the brass likes. He's playing with the AAA Hurricanes here in Lethbridge. He has been out with a head injury, too bad as he would have seen some action of late with the injury to Reid Jackson.

    Fred Jack

  3. Why is Kuvaev playing so little? First star for 2 games a few weeks ago, and he's played less and less since.....

  4. Thanks for all the prospects info Fred!

    I know I'm looking ahead quite a bit, but seeing Kovacs dominate so much in AAA means there will likely be a goalie battle next fall with 3 very good goalies that are/will be WHL capable! He is ready for the WHL already but stuck behind Anderson and Tait!

    I'm (happily) shocked Kovacs was never drafted by the WHL yet dominate so much at ages 15 and 16?? Definately good news for Canes fans and great work by the club's scouting!

  5. Fred, have you heard anything about Guiel, Bailee, Scarth , Harper and Bennefield Where are they playing Can you let us know where they are thanks,


  6. 16 year old Mitchell Guiel is playing Junior B hockey in Aldergrove. Talking to Hurricanes Director of Scouting and Player development Brad robson, he says that Guiel is having a real strong first half. He has 10 goals and 4 assists in 23 games (5th in team scoring), also 63 PIM's. Guile's team is 11-14-0-2, 3rd in their 5 team division.

    Harrison Harper is a big D-man playing Midget 'AAA' in Calgary. he is right around the 6'4" mark and is starting to learn to play with that big frame of his. Next year will be a big camp for him to prove that he is WHL ready.

    Ryley Bennefield is playing Junior B hockey in his hometown of Wetaskiwin with the Icemen. He didn't get off to a great start this season but has been much better of late. Perfect example last Saturday, his club was playing the highly ranked Sherwood Park Knights on the road. Wetaskiwin got down 3-0 early but Bennefield scored twice, then capped off the hat trick with the winner late in the game. Currently he is second in team scoring with 10 goals and 6 assists in just 11 games. His Icemen team is 5th in their 7 team division with a record of 10-10 and 2.

    Also talking to brad Robson he said that Mckechnie with the UFA Bisons is really having a nice season. Perry Schockey is the coach there and according to Brad he is quite pleased with his progress. I wrote about him in my previous post.

    Another guy that Brad Robson says is having a nice year is Steven Hak who is playing defense with the Steinbach pistons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey league. I don't have individual numbers on him, but his club is struggling right now in last place in their division with a record of 11-20 and 2.

    Lastly Matthew Scarth who is playing Midget AAA with the Calgary Buffaloes and Jordan Baillie who is playing with Bonnyville in the Alberta Junior Hockey league are no longer on the Hurricanes protected players list.

    Fred Jack

  7. Sounds like that the Canes have some good prospects , I hope we see Guile, and Bennefield and Harper playing a few games .if they dont get a chance, I am sure they will want to get the opportunity to try and play somewhere else. If the team is struggling. why not give the kids that can score a chance ... oh right Preston only likes to play 2 lines..

  8. agreed the canes should be careful not to forget about there prospects that are having great seasons this year as i have read online that guiel has been apd with a junior a team and has had interest from a couple teams hope preston and gang doesnt end up loosing some of these good prospects !!

  9. The rookies will get their ice time next year. Preston has been in hockey for decades and knows what to do. If you're a real fan, you should rememeber that Braes used to be a 4th liner, now he plays in every situation!

    At your workplace, would any of you like the newly hired young person at work getting the same perks and paycheques as you?