The 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge kicks off on Saturday in Drummondville and Victoriaville, Quebec. The teams are playing exhibition games on Friday to get accustomed to each other and then will play for real starting on Saturday.
The Moose Jaw Warriors are well represented at this year's tournament with two players on Team West, Miles Warkentine and Josh Uhrich, and one on Team Pacific, Brayden Point. The WHL club will also be sending a member of their front office staff to the tournament with Rob Maclachlan, the Warriors' assistant general manager and head scout, serving as the head scout for Team West.
It was Maclachlan who, along with the coaching staff led by head coach Don MacGillvray, pieced together this year's squad to take part in the World Under-17s. The process started with a summer camp and then from there, the team was finialized.
“I've dealt with these kids and know them very well going through their draft years as bantams and most of them playing the Western Hockey League,” explained Maclachlan. “It hasn't as big as job, but it's just a matter of putting the right team together and put a team together that can win.
“We're fortunate this year because we do have a lot of good kids in that age group, and a lot of high draft picks that have turned out very well. I wanted size on the defence, mobility, I wanted speed, and character because in the short term competition, you can't make any mistakes, you have to compete every shift in every game.”
With the likes of Ryan Pilon from the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Haydn Fleury with the Red Deer Rebels anchoring the back end for Team West, Maclachlan sees that as the team's definite strong spot, “These guys are playing big minutes in the Western Hockey League. Fleury looks like he's 18-year-old out there, Pilon looks very good. We don't have a defenceman under 6'3.”
The offence is also looking like one of the stronger groups that Team West has put together in recent years with many players coming from last year's Saskatoon Contacts team that finished third at the Telus Cup. “We've got two lines that can put the puck in the net, guys are scoring in the WHL, and so our goal scoring should be fine,” stated Maclachlan. “Hopefully we've put together a solid third and fourth line that can play with some of the top lines and get the job done.”
Warkentine and Uhrich will be joined by Moose Jaw Generals captain Rhett Gardner as players for Moose Jaw fans to watch on Team West. Maclachlan says he didn't play favourites either as they all earned their way on the team, “I'm taking the best kids, both those kids deserve to be there, just as Rhett Gardner deserves to be there. He's playing Midget AAA, he's a very good hockey player and going to a big solid centreman for us.”
Although the team is picked, that doesn't mean Maclachlan's job is done as head scout. He's with the team in Quebec to pre-scout some of the European teams and help set up the lines that Team West will take into their opening game on Saturday against Sweden.
“I'll be sitting in the stands for the first exhibition game (against Slovakia on Friday) and be tiring to put together line combinations, guys that are maybe going to click together,” explained Maclachlan. “The European teams are unknown, so the coaches will go out to watch some of the teams that we're going to play and identify some of their top lines.”
When watching those European teams, Maclachlan adds that he'll also have his Moose Jaw Warriors scout cap on to try to identify players that the team could pick up in next year's CHL Import Draft.
The World Under-17s get underway on Saturday. Team West battles Sweden at 12:30pm in Drummondville, while Team Pacific will play Russia in their opener at 6:30pm.
After missing the playoffs for a third straight season, the Moose Jaw Warriors won't be raising their season ticket prices for next season
The Moose Jaw Kinsmen Flying Fins have gotten off to a great start to 2015 as they continue to rack up personal best times and strong perf
The Moose Jaw Warriors' season might be in the books, but three members of the tribe are still playing hockey. Eberle Putting Up Points i
The Moose Jaw high school senior badminton league kicked off play on Tuesday with the first league night of the season. There will be four
Moose Jaw's Pat Simmons dropped his first game at the 2015 World Men's Curling Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Canadian rink lost
Six students at Vanier Collegiate are working to pay it forward. The local students were a part of the Olymism4Humanity's Canadian delegati
With scouts and coaches from each CFL team looking on, Moose Jaw's Kahlen Branning wasn't feeling the pressure over the weekend at the 201
Monday was a day of domination for Moose Jaw's Pat Simmons and Team Canada at the 2015 World Men's Curling Championship in Halifax, Nova Sco
Despite an uncharacteristically slow start to the game, the Peacock Toilers still found a way to come out on top on Saturday afternoon, beat
It's been an uphill battle for the Caronport Cougars throughout the season, but they reached the top over the weekend, winning the 3A girl
Moose Jaw's Pat Simmons and Team Canada won both their games on Sunday to move to 3-0 at the 2015 World Men's Curling Championship in Halifa
In an exciting back and forth game, the Pee Wee A Warriors came up short in the long run, losing the two game total point series to the Sa
Moose Jaw was home to the top judo athletes in the province as the Moose Jaw Koseikan Judo Club hosted the 2015 Saskatchewan Judo Provinc
Zach Sawchenko proved this season that when he's on, he's one of the best major junior goalies in Canada. The key is for him to be able to
The two-week break was just enough for Moose Jaw's Pat Simmons and Team Canada heading into the 2015 World Men's Curling Championship. Th