The annual World Junior A Challenge returns to Bonnyville, Alta., in two weeks and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League will once again have one of its coaches on the bench for Team West.
Estevan Bruins head coach and general manager Chris Lewgood was named as an assistant this week joining head coach Rick Swan from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Bonnyville Pontiacs and Joe Martin from the Merrit Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League.
“It’ll be an exciting experience and one that I expect I can learn a lot from,” says Lewgood in an article posted on the Bruins’ website. “Even last year’s evaluation camp was a tremendous opportunity to network with and pick a few things up from some very good coaches. The guys returning from last year’s group are all excellent coaches and leaders as well as fantastic people.”
Lewgood was a guest coach last year when Flin Flon Bombers head coach and general manager Mike Reagan guided Team West to a gold medal at the event held in Truro, NS. Lewgood, who is in his sixth season with the Bruins and has one league final and an appearance as the host team of the 2016 Western Canada Cup on his resume, will head to Calgary next week for the selection camp leading up to the week-long event in Bonnyville in mid-December.
That selection camp will feature 44 players from the five western-most leagues (BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, MJHL and SIJHL) in the Canadian Junior Hockey League with four of the hopefuls coming from the SJHL.
Chase Felguerias from the Humboldt Broncos and Tim Gould from the Notre Dame Hounds will try and secure spots on the blueline while Vincent Nardone from Flin Flon and Nolan Renwick from the Hounds will be looking to earn a spot up front.
For the 18-year-old Gould it will be his second straight year attending the selection camp as he was one of nine SJHL players invited last year. The Riverview, NB, product, who has committed to attend the University of Maine next season, was unsuccessful in getting a roster spot a year ago, but is having a solid sophomore campaign with the Hounds having scored five times and setting up 15 others in 31 games.
Felguerias is in his first season with Humboldt and the Calgarian, who turned 18 years old just two weeks ago, has 12 points in 28 games with the first-place Broncos. Nardone, who hails from Rosemere, PQ, has 22 points in 25 games with Flin Flon. It has been a month to remember for the 18-year-old Nardone as earlier this month it was announced that he committed to Nebraska-Omaha for next season.
Renwick is the youngest of the SJHL invitees as the native of Milestone, Sask., is just 17. Already 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds the hulking Renwick should challenge for a spot as he not only has the size, but has considerable touch around the net as evidenced by his 8-14-22 totals in 30 games with the Hounds so far in his rookie season.
“It will be an honour to represent the Bruins, the SJHL, and the CJHL on the international stage,” sums up Lewgood from his website release. “Being a part of a Hockey Canada event is something I do not take for granted and will make the most of.”
The World Junior A Challenge runs from Dec 9-15 and will feature five teams – Team West and Team East from Canada, Russia, the Czech Republic and the United States. There were six teams in previous events, but Switzerland has withdrawn this year.
Team West will open the tournament on Dec. 9 when they play the United States.