Yukon players continue to be luminous blips on B.C. Hockey’s radar.
Four Whitehorse players have been invited to the B.C. Cup, under-16 elite showcase, this month in Salmon Arm, B.C. Hockey announced this week.
“It speaks to how good those four hockey players are,” said U16 Mustangs head coach Martin Lawrie. “Behind the scenes, the support they’ve received from (Whitehorse) Minor Hockey has been a big part of opening these opportunities for them.
“They are four really good hockey players, so it’s exciting.”
Whitehorse’s Bryce Anderson, Oscar Burgess, Dylan Cozens and Brett Walchuk are among 120 players selected from a pool of about 7,000 2001-born players from B.C. and Yukon.
It’s the first time in about a decade that four Yukon players have been invited in the same season to attend the U16 identification camp that offers players the chance to perform in front of B.C. Hockey and Hockey Canada scouts.
“The experience is going to be great. The concept behind it is built off a Hockey Canada model, exposing players who have been identified to these camps to see how they operate at the next level,” said Lawrie. “The ultimate goal for these guys is to make Team B.C. They cut down from this camp to 40 kids who get invited to a final camp (in July).”
All four players were on the Whitehorse Bantam Mustangs gold-winner rep team - the first ever from Yukon - at the B.C. Hockey Championships last year.
This season Anderson plays forward for the Bantam Mustangs, Burgess forward for the U16 Mustangs and the Bantam Mustangs, Walchuk defence for the U16 Mustangs.
Anderson, Burgess and Walchuk were on the Bantam Mustangs when they won silver at the B.C. Hockey Championships for Tier 3 last month in Smithers.
Cozens has been a team leader for the Delta Hockey Academy bantam prep team in B.C. this season. The winger finished the season second on the team in scoring with 31 points (19 goals and 12 assists) in 25 games.
Cozens led his team in scoring in two premier western Canadian tournaments - the John Reid Memorial and the Pat Quinn Classic - this season with All-Star and MVP honours picked up.
The Delta team lost in the semifinal of the Elite 15s division in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League last month.
While the four players received invites to Salmon Arm, another is already there.
Whitehorse’s Maddie Nicholson, a forward for the Female Mustangs this season, is currently there playing in the B.C. Cup for U16 females. Nicholson, who was also invited to the camp last year, is one of 114 players selected.
Though there hasn’t been a formal announcement, hockey insiders say Whitehorse’s Kyron Crosby will receive an invitation to the B.C. Cup for U15 players next month in Richmond. Crosby was also on the silver-winning Bantam Mustangs last month.
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