While all three Canadian teams are gearing up for their first matchups in the 2022 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge today, only two of them feature players from the Lower Mainland.
Colton Roberts, who plays as a defenceman for the Vancouver Giants, will have the opportunity to be involved in this annual hockey event as part of the Canada Black team.
This year, the tournament is taking place at the Langley Events Centre and Delta’s Sungod Arena from Nov. 3-12.
Having the international event so close to where he plays every day is a big bonus for Roberts and the rest of the Lower Mainland players.
“It would have been great to go somewhere like Sweden or somewhere else, but I am happy it is at home with a home crowd and where I am used to the ice conditions,” said Roberts.
As one of only six Lower Mainland players to be selected to a Canadian team in this year’s tournament, Roberts will have a unique advantage when playing his first game tonight at the Langley Events Centre, where the Giants play each of their home games.
Being included in such a high-profile event is something that Roberts has dreamed about since he was four years old, watching the World Junior Championship game on TV.
“Ever since seeing that, it became my goal to represent my country,” he said.
And with the tournament only lasting 10 days, Roberts is hoping he can make some magic happen sooner rather than later.
“I just have to find my role quickly, get comfortable, and show them what I’ve got,” said Roberts.
Among the 66 players who were chosen to be part of one of the three Canadian teams in the tournament, six of them hail from the Lower Mainland.
• Jordan Gavin (Surrey) - Tri-City Americans
• Macklin Celebrini (Vancouver) - Chicago Steel
• Colton Roberts (Maple Ridge) - Vancouver Giants
• Carson Wetsch (North Vancouver) - Calgary Hitmen
• Tomas Mrsic (Surrey) - Medicine Hat Tigers
• Gabriel Guilbault (Burnaby) - Penticton Vees
Canada White team has no players from the Lower Mainland.
Here is what the schedule looks like for Roberts and the rest of the Canada Black team:
• Thursday, Nov. 3 - Canada Black vs Canada Red (7 p.m. in Langley)
• Friday, Nov. 4 - Canada Black vs Finland (7 p.m. in Delta)
• Saturday, Nov. 5 - Canada Black vs Canada White (7 p.m. in Langley)
• Monday, Nov. 7 - Canada Black vs Sweden (12 p.m. in Langley)
• Tuesday, Nov. 8 - Canada Black vs United States (7 p.m. in Delta)
• Friday, Nov. 11 - Canada Black vs Czechia (2 p.m. in Langley)
If Canada Black, or either of the other two Canadian teams, make it into the top four teams, they will play in the finals on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Langley.
For a full schedule, tickets, or more information, visit https://www.hockeycanada.ca/en-ca/national-championships/men/world-u17/2022.
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