Prince Albert’s Braden Schneider has earned the chance to compete for a spot on Canada’s World Junior team.
The 18-year-old blueliner for the Brandon Wheat Kings was one of 31 players that were named to the team’s selection camp roster during a press conference in Calgary on Monday afternoon.
“I got a call from Hockey Canada around six o’clock Sunday night and they told me that I had been selected for the camp,” Schneider said.
“I had all kinds of feelings when I found out and it’s an exciting time for me, my family, my billets and everyone else that has helped me along the way.”
Schneider, who is in his third Western Hockey League campaign and is a projected first round pick in the 2020 National Hockey League draft, has represented his country on three occasions.
In addition to winning a gold medal at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Edmonton, he was part of the defence at the 2019 World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Sweden and suited up for Canada White at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.
He is currently fifth on the Wheat Kings in scoring and is tied for 10th place among all blueliners in the league with 19 points in 27 games.
“I’ve made strides in the direction that I want to go, but that main goal right now is to help our team have more success,” Schneider said.
The 12-15-1-0 Wheat Kings are currently in fourth place in the East Division and have a six-point advantage over the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Red Deer Rebels for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
If Schneider makes Canada’s roster, he would be the first player from Prince Albert to be part of the team since former Prince Albert Raiders forward Denis Pederson earned a gold medal at the 1995 tournament in Red Deer, Alta.
The selection camp will be held Dec. 9-12 in Oakville, Ont., while the 2020 World Juniors will take place from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.
“I know the job that they want me to do at camp,” Schneider said. “They want to be hard to play against and be good defensively.
“If I can fill that role for them…I think I’ll have a shot at making the team, but I’m just hoping for the best when I go out there.”
The other 30 players that earned an invitation to the camp are as follows:
- Nico Daws (Guelph Storm)
- Joel Hofer (Portland Winterhawks)
- Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)
- Olivier Rodrigue (Moncton Wildcats)
- Calen Addison (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
- Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s)
- Jacob Bernard-Docker (North Dakota Fighting Hawks)
- Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants)
- Peter Diliberatore (Quinnipiac Bobcats)
- Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters)
- Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)
- Jared McIsaac (Halifax Mooseheads – Part of last year’s team)
- Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs – Part of last year’s team)
- Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves)
- Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
- Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
- Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound Attack)
- Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets)
- Liam Foudy (London Knights)
- Benoit-Olivier Groulx (Halifax Mooseheads)
- Dylan Holloway (Wisconsin Badgers)
- Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg Ice)
- Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski Oceanic – Part of last year’s team)
- Raphael Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads)
- Connor McMichael (London Knights)
- Dawson Mercer (Drummondville Voltigeurs)
- Alex Newhook (Boston College Eagles)
- Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats)
- Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
- Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs)
Forwards Kirby Dach (Chicago Blackhawks), Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) and Joe Veleno (Grand Rapids Griffins) are also in the mix to be part of the squad, along with blueliner Noah Dobson (New York Islanders), but it’s unclear if they will be loaned out by their respective teams.
Hayton, Veleno and Dobson were all on last year’s squad in Vancouver, which lost to the eventual champions from Finland in the quarter-final round.
Notable by their absences from the selection camp roster were forwards Adam Beckman (Spokane Chiefs), Brayden Tracey (Moose Jaw Warriors) and Connor Zary (Kamloops Blazers), along with blueliners Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets), Ryan Merkley (London Knights) and Jett Woo (Calgary Hitmen).
–With files from Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun