By Carter Brooks
Photo by Christopher Mast
There were no Manitobans selected on the 22-man under-18 Canadian team for the 2018 running of the newly re-named Hlinka Gretzky Cup to be held on August 6th through 11th, 2018.
Although the team is typically made up of teenagers from B.C., Alberta and Ontario, a handful of Manitobans usually do make the final cut (Jett Woo and Calen Addison in 2017). Surprisingly no player of Manitoban background will be participating in this year's running.
Oddly enough, Dylan Cozens - the 6-foot-3 forward of the Lethbridge Hurricanes (as opposed to the 6-foot-6 outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies) is originally from Whitehorse, YK., making him the only player from Canada's far north on the squad.
With not Manitoba-born rostered players competing in the coming week, the next best option for Manitobans to cheer for would be 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-hand defenceman Braden Schneider who currently plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
Schneider, the fourth youngest member of the Canadian team, will battle for a place on the team's third pairing, and will hope that his size helps in the decision making process. The Prince Albert, SK. native spent the 2017-18 season manning the blueline for the Wheat Kings, putting up a goal, 22 points, 16 penalty minutes and a +10 rating in 66 regular season games. He also collected six assists in 11 postseason games for Brandon.
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup (formerly Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup) will be held jointly at Servus Place in Red Deer and Rogers Place in Edmonton, after spending the past 20+ years overseas. Canada will look to pick up where it left off in 2017, and retain its gold medal. The Canadians have captured first place in 12 of the tournament's last 14 runnings. The Hlinka Gretzky Cup officially begins Monday, August 6th.