One of the best young players ever produced in Manitoba has been named to Canada’s national Under-18 team.
Jayce Hawryluk, the Brandon Wheat Kings leading scorer, got the call from Hockey Canada on Wednesday. Hawryluk, a speedy 5-foot-10, 190 pound product of Roblin, Man., finished the season with 24 goals and 64 points. He played only 59 games.
Hawryluk was given clearance to play after missing the final game of Brandon’s second round playoff series against Edmonton with an “upper body injury. ”
After having his second solid series with the Wheat Kings, Hawryluk hopes to use this national team experience to move up in the NHL draft list. He is currently ranked 37th among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau. That would project him to be a late second or early third round selection.
“Every player wants to be drafted, wants to play in the NHL,” Hawryluk told Game On Magazine. “It’s my goal to play at the top level.”
With Hawryluk added to the team, it means that three Wheat Kings will take to the ice when the World U-18 Championships open up in Finland on Thursday. Four days after naming John Quenneville to the team, Hockey Canada has confirmed that Hawryluk and defenseman Ryan Pilon have been added.
Acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in November, Pilon has just completed his second season in the Western Hockey League. In 66 games this past season, the 6-foot-2, 212-pound product of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan had seven goals and 35 points. Quenneville, meanwhile, hails from Edmonton and had 25 goals and 33 assists in 61 games for the Wheaties this season.
Both Hawryluk and Pilon were members of the Canadian team that won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic last sunmmer.
One other Manitoban will represent Canada at the World U-18s. Joining the three Wheat Kings on the Team Canada roster is Travis Sanheim of Elkhorn (Calgary Hitmen).
The Canadians are the defending champions at the World Under 18 Championship. Last year, Team Canada won its third gold medal in Sochi, Russia. Canada will open the tournament on Thursday against Sweden.