Nolan Allan is about to embark on the first step of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence.
The Prince Albert Raiders rookie blueliner will be suiting up for Canada Red at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, which runs from Nov. 2-9 in Swift Current and Medicine Hat.
“Every kid dreams of playing for Canada at the World Juniors and this is the start of reaching that goal,” Allan said.
“It’s an honour just to be named to one of the three teams and hopefully we do well there.”
Allan, who is taking part in a pre-tournament game against the United States in Medicine Hat on Thursday night, is one of five Western Hockey League players on the Canada Red roster.
He will be joined by blueliners Olen Zellweger (Everett Silvertips) and Kyle Masters (Red Deer Rebels), along with forwards Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers) and Connor Roulette (Seattle Thunderbirds).
Goaltender Thomas Milic is a signed prospect of the Thunderbirds but is suiting up for the Burnaby Winter Club prep program this year.
“I haven’t played with a lot of the guys on the team and I really don’t know a lot about the fellow Western guys to be honest,” Allan said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to start some friendships during the week.”
All of Canada Red’s round-robin games are taking place in Swift Current, which is only a couple hours away from Allan’s hometown of Davidson.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of family and friends that are going to be making the trip, so that’s going to be exciting,” Allan said.
The 16-year-old has three points in 14 games during his rookie campaign in the WHL, which matches the total that fellow Raider blueliner Kaiden Guhle had in 15 contests before he took part in last year’s tournament in New Brunswick.
Allan, who was the third overall pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, notched his first career goal on Oct. 12 during an 8-4 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors at the Art Hauser Centre.
“Obviously it’s a bit different than midget but I think the jump has gone well,” said Allan, who had 35 points in 39 games last year for the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s Saskatoon Contacts.
“It’s a more controlled game out here. The guys are obviously bigger, faster and stronger, but everything happens so quickly out on the ice. The passes are rarely missed so you have to be on your toes at all times.”
Allan has also learned a lot from returning blueliners Guhle, Zack Hayes and Jeremy Masella about what it takes to play major junior hockey.
“The older guys have been great in setting the tone and teaching us things, in addition to showing us the pace that we need to play at,” Allan said. “They are all great leaders.”
“For the younger guys like Nolan, it takes a little bit for them to get used to the different style that we play,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid added. “You can tell that they are all gaining confidence though and that makes us a better hockey team.”
While Allan gears up for his first tournament game on Saturday against Russia, the Raiders will be taking part in a pair of contests this weekend.
They’ll host the Regina Pats on Friday before they head back out on the road to face the Moose Jaw Warriors a night later.
Friday’s game at the Art Hauser Centre, which is the first for the Raiders in three weeks, will mark the third meeting of the season with the Pats.
The Raiders picked up a 5-2 road win on Sept. 27 and following that up with a 6-0 triumph at home on Oct. 5.
Following a 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Hitmen on Sunday in an outdoor game at Mosaic Stadium, the Pats are in last place in the East Division and are at the bottom of the league standings with a 2-10-1-0 mark.
Forward Caiden Daley is expected to make his debut for the Pats after he was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Tuesday for forward Duncan Pierce.
The 19-year-old from Winnipeg, who was the 22nd overall pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, has two assists in 10 games this season and put up 56 points in 212 contests for the Wheat Kings.
Pierce, who is also 19 years of age and calls Winnipeg home, dished out two helpers in 10 games for the Pats at the time of the trade and is coming off a 20-point campaign in his first full WHL season.
Former Raiders netminder Donovan Buskey has yet to make an in-game appearance for the Pats since he was acquired in a trade last week, but he did serve as the backup to Max Paddock on Sunday.
- Kelowna 1 Victoria 0 (Cole Schwebius – 33 Saves – First Career Shutout)
- Winnipeg 4 Lethbridge 3 (Isaac Johnson Shootout Winner – Logan Danis – Two Assists)
- Victoria 4 Kelowna 3 (Kaid Oliver Shootout Winner – Ethan Ernst – One Goal and One Assist)
- Seattle 2 Calgary 1 (Roddy Ross – 33 Saves)
- Calgary 5 Regina 4 (Carson Focht Overtime Winner – Mark Kastelic – Two Goals – Game Held at Mosaic Stadium)
- Moose Jaw 5 Saskatoon 4 (Ryder Korczak Overtime Winner – Brayden Tracey – Three Goals and One Assist – Third Career Hat Trick)
- Prince George 3 Vancouver 2 (Ryan Schoettler Overtime Winner – Tyler Brennan – 37 Saves
Around the WHL
The key piece for the Saskatoon Blades is not expected to return to the team.
The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Wednesday that 18-year-old forward Kirby Dach will be staying with the NHL club for the foreseeable future.
Dach, who was the third overall pick in June’s draft, has two points in six games for the Blackhawks.
Although the full roster has yet to be finalized, Calgary Hitmen blueliner Egor Zamula will be the lone WHL player on Russia’s roster for the upcoming Canada Russia Series.
Forward Vasili Podkolzin, who was the 10th overall pick by the Vancouver Canucks at the 2019 NHL Draft, is expected to take part in both games on Nov. 13 and 14 in Saskatoon and Prince Albert.
- Swift Current vs. Brandon – 6:30 p.m.
- Lethbridge vs. Winnipeg – 6:30 p.m.
- Saskatoon vs. Edmonton – 7 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
- Regina vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Kelowna – 8 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.
- Portland vs. Everett – 8:30 p.m.
With files from Trevor Redden