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Team BC Defeats Team Manitoba to begin 2016 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Team BC opened the 2016 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup with a 7-3 win over Team Manitoba. The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup takes place from October 18 – 23, 2016 at WinSport in Calgary, Alberta.
Josh Williams (Langley, BC) opened the scoring for BC with a great rush to give BC the early 1-0 lead.  However, it was Manitoba’s period as they scored three (3) unanswered goals.  Late in the first period, BC cut the lead to one (1) with a goal from Elan Bar-Lev-Wise (Vancouver, BC).  Team BC picked up where they left off in the 2nd period and continued to apply the pressure.  A pair of Mitchell Brown (Salmon Arm, BC) goals in the frame gave BC the 4-3 lead heading into the final frame.  Team BC added three (3) goals in the third, coming from Alex Swetlikof (Kelowna, BC), Massimo Rizzo (Burnaby, BC) and Sasha Mutala (Vancouver, BC).
Team BC will play Team Saskatchewan on Thursday, October 20, 2016 and Team Alberta on Friday, October 21, 2016.  The tournament wraps up on Sunday, October 23, 2016 with the bronze and gold medal matchups.
The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup features the highest rated players in the U16 age category representing the four (4) Western provinces of Alberta, BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  The four (4) team round robin format is the first step in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence and assists the four (4) western provincial hockey Branches in evaluating the top prospects in this age group for future high performance programs.  The Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup is made possible through financial support provided by the Western Hockey League (WHL).  The majority of players participating in the event were selected in the WHL Bantam Draft in May 2016 and many of these top prospects will play major roles with WHL clubs in the seasons ahead.
Some notable players that have participated as part of Team BC include:
  • Curtis Lazar – Ottawa Senators
  • Morgan Reilly – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Sam Reinhart – Buffalo Sabres
The U16 Program is the second stage in the BC Hockey High Performance Program, which exposes players, coaches and officials to short term competition. The U16 Program also acts as a precursor to the Hockey Canada High Performance U17 Program, which is used to identify and train players and team personnel for provincial, regional and national teams.
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