By Carter Brooks
Photo by Marissa Baecker
The World Under 18 tournament will be held in Sweden from April 18th to 28th this year, and three players with Manitoba connections have cracked the preliminary roster.
Before heading to Sweden, all players invited to the Canadian U-18 squad travelled to Toronto, ON. for two days of information and training, before flying to Finland for a preliminary tryout/assessment in the form of a few pre-tournament/exhibition games. These games will determine who remains with Canada for the 10-day event.
Daemon Hunt of Brandon was the only Manitoban selected to participate in the camp, while two others on Manitoba-based Western Hockey League teams have also received the call. Braden Schneider - a Prince Albert, SK. product who plays defence for the Brandon Wheat Kings - as well as Peyton Krebs - the Okotoks, AB. born captain of the Winnipeg ICE - have also been given spots on the preliminary roster.
Krebs and Schneider are essentially locked in to their spots on the U-18 roster as experienced Team Canada players, while Hunt will be in the mix to earn a spot as one of three underage forwards. Hunt, 16, spent the past season playing defence alongside Roblin's Josh Brook and Winnipeg's Jett Woo on the Moose Jaw Warriors, putting up seven goals, 21 points, while finishing his rookie year a +21.
Schneider, 17, spent the 2018-19 season in Brandon, working the blueline for the Wheat Kings in his second WHL season. He handily beat his point totals from his rookie year, putting up eight goals and 24 points for the Wheaties, while registering 26 penalty minutes and finishing a +13.
Krebs, 17, was named team captain of the then Kootenay ICE at the start of the 2018-19 season, and backed that recognition with solid all-round play in his second full WHL season. In 64 games for Kootenay, Krebs put up 19 goals and 68 points. The speedy forward is expected to be a top-10 selection at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft taking place this June in Vancouver.
Earlier this week, Hockey Canada announced that Peyton Krebs would wear the 'C' for the Canadian team, serving as team captain. Dylan Cozens and Nathan Legare would be his alternates for the upcoming tournament. Pre-tournament action begins on Sunday in Sweden with an exhibition game against Belarus in Umea, and another on Monday against Russia in Ornskoldvik.