The head scout for Team Alberta’s U16 male hockey team for the 2019 Canada Winter Games is confident his team is ready for a strong performance.
Jamie Porter says selecting the squad was a tough task.
“Alberta is a deep province with a lot of options. This has been a strong year, age group-wise, for Alberta. It took us right to the deadline to make our decisions and now we’ve got to develop and have the guys take the next step.”
Alberta typically does well in male hockey at the Canada Winter Games. Our province won silver at the 2015 Games in Prince George, BC and bronze at the 2011 Games in Halifax.
Porter says the competition at the upcoming tournament in Red Deer will be intense.
“The (provincial) branches take this very seriously. This is the fourth year I’ve been the head scout for Team Alberta and there’s a big difference between how this event is treated compared to the WHL challenge cups,” he notes.
“The eastern teams have all of their OHL and QMJHL scouts coming out as those players haven’t been through those drafts, yet. So it’s important for them. It’s a national tournament that only happens every four years, so it’s as big a deal that you can have.”
Both Red Deer Rebels first round selections from the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft are on the Team Alberta roster – forward Jacob Grubbe and defenceman Kyle Masters. Porter likes what each of them brings to the team.
“Jacob is a big power forward who gives us some size and skill. He plays a heavy game when he needs to and we think he’s going to contribute offensively for us, as well as a (strong) 200 foot game.
“Kyle is a mobile defenceman which is what we were looking for. He can do a little bit of everything; can play some power play and penalty kill.
“They’ve both played exhibition games in the (WHL) so they have that experience. Both guys were early selections for us – guys we knew were going to be here right from summer camp – and have been tracking since last year.”
Team Alberta is made up of 15-year-old players with one notable exception.
Matt Savoie, a 14-year-old forward from St. Albert, is applying for exceptional status for early entry into WHL and will be a player to watch at the 2019 Games, says Porter.
“He was in the group right off the bat. He’s an extremely skilled and intelligent hockey player with exceptional speed. He compliments what we have. We’re really looking for our forwards to score. We think we have a lot of offensive tools and Matt is certainly one of those guys.”
Tees native and Vancouver Giants draft pick Drew Sim is one of Team Alberta's two goalies for the tournament.
The 2019 Canada Winter Games run from Feb. 15 – March 3 in Red Deer.
(With file from Cam Moon)
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