CALGARY, AB - Hockey Canada is proud to recognize the 111 players that took part in the Program of Excellence summer meetings in preparation for the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Sixty-six under-17 players were selected by Alan Millar (Tottenham, ON), director of player personnel, Byron Bonora (Brooks, AB), U17 head scout, and Dave Brown (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON/Erie, OHL), the U17 lead for the Program of Excellence management group, with input from Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of hockey operations. Regional scouts Rob Simpson (Ontario), Pierre Cholette (Quebec), Darren Sutherland (Atlantic) and Darrell Woodley (Ontario), as well as Member representatives, also provided input.
All 66 under-17 players have been drafted by Canadian Hockey League (CHL) teams, including 37 from the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), 15 from the Western Hockey League (WHL) and 14 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
“This impressive group of athletes is an excellent representation of the talent pool in our country, and these meetings were a great opportunity to kick off a new season and begin our preparations for two major international events,” Millar said. “This was a great opportunity to introduce prospective national team players to the Program of Excellence and help prepare them for international competition.”
Forty-five under-20 players were selected by Millar and Peter Anholt (Naicam, SK/Lethbridge, WHL), the U20 lead for the POE management group, with input from Salmond and Benoit Roy (Sudbury, ON), senior manager of hockey operations.
The list includes three players who won a gold medal on home ice at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax and Moncton (Beck, Fantilli, Korchinski), and seven who won gold on home ice at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup (Barlow, Benson, Gauthier, Ratzlaff, Ritchie, Wood, Yager). It also includes 12 players who were selected in the 2023 NHL Draft last month, including seven first-round picks (Barlow, Benson, Danielson, Fantilli, Ritchie, Wood, Yager).
Players took part in virtual meetings that covered a variety of topics, including education on the Program of Excellence, sport safety presentations, short-term international competition preparation and meetings with the Hockey Canada management group. The discussions will allow participants to continue to evolve as high-performance athletes and utilize the strengths and experience of the Program of Excellence’s leadership.
Players will continue to be evaluated through the early portion of the 2023-24 season before Canadian rosters are named for the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden.
For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.